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Planning for the holidays after a divorce

With Christmas and the end-of-year holidays coming up fast, many people are feeling the stress of the season. For those in the midst of divorce, or recently divorced, that stress may be even more intense. With the relentless cheer of advertising contrasting with your emotions, the disconnect can be painful.

For those dealing with a recent divorce, a first Christmas can be challenging. Your former happy holiday remembrances may come back to haunt you like the ghost of Christmas past, while you attempt to deal with parenting time hand-offs and the complication of meeting obligations for presents and gifts.

One method of reducing your stress is careful planning. Ideally, your parenting plan should have a very well-defined child custody arrangement, including your holiday schedules. Advance planning helps to minimize the sometimes uncomfortable moments, and properly sets expectations.

If you are traveling with children, planning is even more essential. Your former spouse should know exactly when and where you are going with the children, including where you will be each night and complete contact information.

Interstate and international travel may demand an even higher level of disclosure, and your attorney can help with explicit consent forms, to ensure that you have no complications when going through customs or boarding aircraft.

The advantage to having well-defined plans is that enables you to set up activities for the holidays if you do not have your children. And even if you have the children this year, it can allow you create new traditions that work with your new family circumstance.

While it may be very different, it doesn't have to be a difficult time. With sufficient planning, you can make your holidays just as meaningful and satisfying.

The Huffington Post, "Divorce Confidential: Holiday Preparations," Caroline Choi, December16, 2014

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