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Easing family stress during the holidays after a divorce

For many families in Connecticut, the holidays naturally bring a certain amount of anticipation and stress. Emotions like these can be further amplified when divorce is part of the picture, especially when children are involved. The increased transfer of kids between homes also creates more opportunities for tensions to arise, but there are certain steps that may help both parents and children enjoy the holidays after a divorce.

After all legal matters have been settled after a divorce, the first step suggested is to focus on the children during the holidays. This means putting aside lingering bitterness and feelings of animosity. If the end of a marriage is fairly recent, achieving this goal may require support from friends or a therapist. This also means that one former spouse shouldn't punish the other one by restricting access to children. A more productive approach to holiday co-parenting is to have a clear plan in place that both parents can agree on.

Developing a workable plan typically includes discussing such things as arrangements with pick-ups and drop-offs and visitation adjustments when children are out of school for holiday breaks. Children also tend to do better emotionally if they are prepared as much as possible for what the holidays will look like. It can also be helpful if parents avoid questioning children about their experiences with the other parent when returning from visits unless they are prepared to do so without judgment.

Even the best plans can include unexpected circumstances. If there are serious custody or visitation issues, a family law attorney may be able to help a parent seek an acceptable resolution with formal negotiations. Should this not be possible, a lawyer may recommend turning to the courts to modify an existing custody agreement. Legal assistance may also be provided if there are issues with child or spousal support payments, especially if a lower-earning spouse or custodial parent is depending on these funds to help with holiday expenses for their children.

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