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Making the best of a custody arrangement during the holidays

In the years following an Illinois divorce, many families struggle with adjusting to the new structure of the holiday season. Parents can have difficulties accepting that they will lose a measure of time with their children during the holiday season, and struggles over how that time will be divided is an issue within many families. However, there are tactics that parents can use to ease the stress of accommodating a custody arrangement at this time of year.

To begin, parents should take the time to work through their custody agreement and agree on the holiday schedule. Whenever possible, it is a good idea to accommodate scheduling requests that would allow children to see family members or participate in activities that would not otherwise be possible. Being reasonable and considerate of the feelings of one's former spouse and his or her family exemplifies the true nature of the season.

Once the schedule has been determined, parents should share the details with their children. Kids thrive with stability and routine, and knowing what to expect ahead of time can make the holiday season far easier for them to handle. This is especially true during the first few years after a divorce, when the established holiday routine will be disrupted to accommodate a new custody agreement.

By taking the time to plan out the coming weeks, families can avoid much of the disruption and stress that comes with strife over a child custody arrangement. Once these issues have been dealt with, both parents can focus on making the time that they do have with their children special. While many of the traditions and practices of the holidays will shift after an Illinois divorce, this is also the time to build new traditions that will become part of a child's cherished holiday memories.

Source: The Mercury, Child custody and the holidays: Do's and Don'ts, Andrew D. Taylor, Nov. 27, 2013

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