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How divorced Texas parents cope with holiday child custody issues

Families can have a difficult time coping with major holidays following a marital break-up. If you're a newly-separated or divorced Houston parent, you probably feel anxious about holiday obligations, commitments and changes to traditions you once shared with a partner or spouse.

Here you are in the wake of a divorce, trying – and maybe over-trying -- to create a joyous atmosphere, so you and your children can make the most of the season. Then, you think about your child custody agreement and the expectations of your children and your ex.

You didn't have child custody conflicts last year. You had an intact family. Now, what do you do?

Holiday custody arrangements are frequently included in parenting plans. This may state children spend a specific number of hours or holiday vacation days with an ex. Since many major holidays can be hectic, some advisers suggest building flexibility into the visitation plan.

It doesn't help you, the kids or your ex when there is bickering over a timeline. Talk to your former partner or spouse and agree to make it as easy as possible for one another and the children to enjoy the holiday experience. You may decide to share a meal or activity as a family, just to maximize the time both parents can be with the children.

When a temporary reunion like this is out of the question, it's still possible to maintain a holiday schedule that does not overburden everyone. Try not to spend the holidays shuffling children from one relative's house to another. Relatives may apply a lot of pressure for you visit, but make the children's well-being a priority.

The less stress you place on yourself and the children, the better you may feel. Reinforce the feelings you have for your children. Acknowledge the holiday experience this time around may be awkward, but create positive moments when you can.

Source: Huffington Post, "Divorcing? A Few Dos and Don'ts to Help Keep the Holidays Bright for Your Kids" Cheryl and Joe Dillon, Dec. 02, 2014

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