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Navigating the holidays after a separation or divorce

When in the midst of a divorce or separation, the manner in which couples navigate the holidays may have a long-lasting effect on both the resolution of future issues and the wellness of the children. North Carolina couples who have recently begun their legal processes may want to remain aware that a first holiday season celebrated in separate households is likely a prelude to the many special times ahead during which a parent might be required to share the children with an ex-spouse.

While it is not best left to the children, consideration of what they want most to do is important to the parents' decision-making process. Parents might also want to think about the traditions that are a longstanding part of the holidays with their extended families and arrange a schedule that accommodates as many of these special times as possible.

Admittedly, some situations are inherently more manageable than others. It may be easier to allocate time spent with the kids when one parent's family traditionally gets together on Christmas Eve and the other celebrates on Christmas Day. When parents are invested in different holidays altogether, the children may be able to enjoy the best of both worlds with little disruption to their long-established holiday routines.

Under some circumstances, transitioning families may have to adopt new traditions. Ultimately, children often take their cues from their parents, so if the estranged spouses are able to project a comfortable stance regarding the holiday schedule, the children may be able to feel good about it too. In the event that an agreement is not easily attained, an attorney can often help prepare a visitation schedule that is in the children's best interests.

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