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Tips for surviving the holidays when you're divorced

The winter holidays can be fraught with drama for divorced parents struggling to co-parent for the first time. Of course, both of you want to spend Thanksgiving with your kids. But often, that just isn't possible.

After all, you don't want your kids' childhood memories to focus on car trips between mom's and dad's house every holiday. No child deserves that. To avoid just that scenario, it's important to work with your ex to find a compromise so each of you gets to spend quality time with the kids.

Below are some suggestions for how you can do just that.

Pre-plan the celebration with extended family

Chances are you might not be the only divorced parent in your family. If you want to make sure that your kids get some family time with their cousins this Thanksgiving, discuss the arrangements ahead of time. Maybe your clan could gather later in the day for the evening meal or even agree to celebrate together on the day after.

Avoid disputes on the holiday

Agree ahead of time that there will be no disagreements with your ex during any holiday custody exchanges. Sharp words can mar the day for all and leave your child feeling sad or even guilty.

Accept limitations

Understand that sometimes it just isn't possible for your child to share the day with both of their parents. This is where compromise is key. If you have the kids for the majority of the Thanksgiving holiday, then make sure to plan to have them for Christmas.

Your custody order should stipulate which parent will have the kids during all holidays, birthdays and summer vacation. Having it in writing eliminates the need for ongoing negotiations because it's already spelled out in black and white and signed by the judge.

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