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Can you and your ex be together over the holidays for your kids?

The holidays can be one of the most stressful times for many divorced parents. They want to spend part of these special holidays — whichever ones they celebrate — with their kids. However, they often end up with their children away with the other parent for part of the time.

Some parents get along well enough to share the holidays with their kids as a family. Recently, actress Drew Barrymore told reporters that she and her ex-husband, who divorced this year, will be going on an “adventure” together over the holidays with their two young daughters. They already spent Halloween together with their kids.

Post-divorce family holidays aren’t just for celebrities. Many couples do spend part of the holidays together, primarily for their kids. Having their parents interacting peacefully and continuing family traditions is important.

For parents who want to make this work, it’s often best to set a specific, limited period of time when you’ll all be together. Unless you’ve done it before, it’s probably best not to plan a vacation or even a weekend together. A morning of opening Christmas presents or a family brunch is sometimes best.

Whether you’re spending time together as a family or you’ll be with your kids separately, one thing that kids of divorced parents seem to most dislike is having a parent’s new significant other there.

You may think that your guy or gal is great and look forward to your children meeting and getting to know him or her. However, holidays are not the best time for this. As one 13-year-old said, “I feel like this person is going to be in my face — it rubs it in that my parents aren’t going to be together anymore.”

No matter how you and your ex deal with the holidays, it’s important to remember that they can be an emotional time for your kids, particularly if these are the first holidays since your separation or divorce. Experts say that children should be given the space to grieve for the family they no longer have.

It’s always best to include language surrounding holiday visitation and custody in your parenting plan when you divorce. Even if you decide to play it by ear and handle arrangements on a year-to-year basis, most family law attorneys will advise you to have something in writing in case disputes arise.

Source: Huffington Post, “Holiday Time for Children of Divorce,” Risa Garon, accessed Nov. 23, 2016

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