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How will you and your co-parent handle the holidays?

Halloween is over, and that can only mean that the most wonderful and magical time of the year is right around the corner. However, if you are a newly divorced parent, the holiday season may seem more stressful than magical. Perhaps Halloween was a foretaste of what you can expect for the upcoming holidays.

Did you and your ex fight over who would help the child choose a costume? Did you argue about whether the child would trick-or-treat in your neighborhood or your ex's? Or did your child end up with twice as much candy as necessary to avoid the confrontation? If you do not want to go through the same stress for the important events coming up in the next couple of months, now may be the best time to work out a reasonable plan.

Starting fresh

If you are new to co-parenting, you may be quickly learning that compromise is just as important in divorce as it was in marriage. To make the holidays as pleasant and joyful as possible for your child, you may have to stop and ask yourself what you are willing to let go of during the holidays. If you are fortunate, your co-parent will be open to discussing some alternatives.

You may have to break long-held traditions and come up with some creative ways to celebrate. For example, decorating the tree on Christmas Eve may be something you have done since your own childhood, but it is no longer possible now that you are divorced. This does not mean Christmas is in ruins, but you may have to think outside the box. Perhaps you and your children can build traditions of your own that they will want to carry into their adult life.

Everyone is welcome

Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah, and New Year's Eve offer dozens of chances for families to get together. While family gatherings may be painful for you for the next few years, you may also find that it is healing to welcome extended family into your homes at some time over the holidays. This may require some creative scheduling since you and your ex will likely be dividing time with the children.

You may also find that the holiday spirit extends to your former spouse. Your children may appreciate efforts you make to include their other parent in holiday celebrations, even if it is just getting together for hot chocolate after the school pageant.

Shared parenting is a challenge, and you may wish to draft a more solid schedule for the holidays, especially if your spouse is unwilling to compromise. Seeking advice from your Tennessee attorney may provide some workable options.

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