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Advance planning is key with a holiday custody schedule

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Want to make sure you add some stress to the holiday season? Put off your child custody scheduling until the last minute. Few things make it harder for divorced parents and their children to enjoy the holidays.

You're far better off to plan in advance. Maybe you already did; get that schedule out and double-check it. The kids don't have school. You have time off from work. You may have trips to the kids grandparents' houses. All of these things need to be factored into the holiday schedule, which doesn't always line up with the weekly schedule the rest of the year.

If you and your ex did not plan and agree to an arrangement when you got divorced, you're likely going to need to talk about it every year. This can be highly contentious.

Remember, you both probably want the kids on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas morning. You may have special traditions on Christmas Eve. It's impossible for you both to get exactly what you want, so you need to consider possible compromises.

The end result is different for everyone. Maybe your ex gets the kids on Christmas Eve and Thanksgiving, but you get that all-important Christmas morning. Maybe you switch back and forth every other year.

No matter what you decide, the key is to communicate. Work out a plan in advance. If need be, put it right in your parenting plan and child custody plan from the beginning. Understand what rights you have as a parent and what rights your ex has. Above all, seek a custody plan that gives the children the best possible holiday vacation.

Source: Huffington Post, "Holiday Parenting Schedule: Make a List and Check It Twice," Nicole H. Sodoma and Robin Goulet, accessed Nov. 17, 2017

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