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Handling child custody arrangements during the holidays

For many divorced parents in Colorado, the first few Christmases following the end of their marriage can be a challenge. Often, both spouses are still working through their own emotional response to the divorce, and also coming to terms with their new roles as co-parents. Many struggle with the adjustment that comes with a new child custody arrangement, and the holidays can bring out the worst of the anxieties attached to missing time with one's children.

The first step toward overcoming a negative approach to the holiday season is to not allow one's imagination to run wild. It is not uncommon for a divorced parent to idealize the holiday celebrations that their former partner may be having. However, in reality the other parent is juggling the same old holiday frustrations that were in place when the family was intact. Avoid creating a Norman Rockwell image of hot chocolate by the fire, and remember the realities of your former in-laws and the less-than-ideal realities of Christmas at their house.

The second step toward a happier post-divorce holiday is creating the best possible celebratory environment within your own home. If the whole overblown holiday scene was never your style, take the time to design your own ideal holiday schedule. Maybe a low-key Christmas spent with close friends is a better fit for you and your children, and could result in a happier experience for all involved. By creating your own unique traditions, the kids will make new holiday memories that they will carry forward to their own families down the road.

The most important thing to remember when planning a holiday season around an existing child custody schedule is that it is impossible to control what goes on in the home of your former spouse. Let go of those concerns, and put that energy into creating a holiday celebration that fits your own needs, and those of your children. Also, those in Colorado who are newly divorced should remember that the holidays get easier over time, and that each year is a chance to refine the schedule and overall approach to the season.

Source: Huffington Post, Divorce, Holidays, and Quinoa, Tracy Schorn, Nov. 12, 2013

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