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Tips for joint parenting around the holidays

Christmas is fast approaching. You want it to be a fun time for your kids, and you want it to have that magical, festive feel that Christmas always had for you when you were little. If you're divorced, though, you may be concerned that your situation is going to detract from the experience. These tips can help.

1. Make plans with your ex in advance. If you're both on the same page, it reduces stress and eliminates the emotional letdown when your personal plans are suddenly dashed.

2. Don't get in the way. When your ex has the kids, let that time be for them alone.

3. Always focus on your children. Remember, the end goal is to make sure they're having fun, not to make sure you get everything that you want. Don't drag them through a battle with your ex, ruining the holiday, just to get what you're after.

4. Don't trying to be the better parent. Divorced parents often try to win their children's affection during the holidays with presents, cookies, a lack of rules, and any number of other tricks. Don't get so involved in being "better" than your ex that you don't pay attention to the kids.

5. When it comes to togetherness, don't force it. You may not be one of those couples who can spend time together. Don't try to be something that you're not and spark a big fight on Christmas. Understand what will work best and plan it out that way so your kids enjoy it.

Naturally, all of the plans that you make have to fall within your child custody agreement and your parenting plan. Be sure you know your rights as you plan with your ex.

Source: CNN, "Holiday survival guide for divorced parents," Katia Hetter, accessed Dec. 01, 2016

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