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Planning for holiday custody arrangements

Family members have just gone through the back-to-school frenzy, and the autumn season is getting into full swing. Even though divorced Maryland parents may not be thinking about holiday visitation this early in the year, it never hurts to be prepared. Experts in the field say that kids are more likely to become anxious about child custody arrangements as holiday decorations start appearing in stores; why wait until early November to figure out where your kids will spend Thanksgiving and Christmas? Your children will benefit greatly from a well-planned and structured holiday season, which is less stressful for everyone involved.

Many families struggle with child custody issues during the holidays. Even though your custody arrangements may have already been decided in the divorce decree years ago, your children may not always remember what to expect when Christmas, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and other holidays arrive. In addition, parents may begin to feel resentful because they would like more time with their kids during the holidays. If you feel this way, experts recommend keeping those feelings to yourself until you can perform an adequate negotiation. You should not be seeking alternate arrangements during the months of November and December unless an emergency arises.

Maryland parents are encouraged to change their work schedules to accommodate children's needs at this time. Many kids are involved in holiday plays, concerts and other special activities. Children want to be able to attend parties and show off their talents without letting their parents or friends down. Make sure that your children are able to participate in activities that are meaningful to them.

Finally, even though your child may not be with you on Christmas Day, you can still celebrate the holiday spirit, no matter the custody arrangement. You have the opportunity to teach your children a valuable lesson about flexibility and the value of family by demonstrating your own willingness to make accommodations.

Source:, "Start holiday planning now!" Marie Hartwell-Walker, Oct. 01, 2013

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