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How to Split the Holidays with Your Ex [AUDIO]

For divorced parents, the holidays can be tough when it comes to sharing the holidays with the children, but, it doesn’t have to be difficult as long as there is a plan in place as part of the divorce agreement.

Divorce Papers
J. Emilio Flores, Getty Images

“It’s wise for couples to put holiday arrangements in their divorce settlement agreement,” said Bari Weinberger, divorce and family law attorney. “It provides for certainty and the ability to plan going forward, it helps ease the tension and the stress that could otherwise come with the holiday planning. It’s a brilliant way to move forward so that there is clarity.”

Even the friendliest couples who believe they can come up with a reasonable plan and work together should consider putting holiday plans in their agreement, according to Weinberger.

“Inevitably, they don’t predict someone else entering their lives. For example, with a new significant other will the other parent suddenly become less compromising and less flexible because there’s a new player in the mix? It happens a lot,” she said. “So, I absolutely recommend putting a holiday plan into the agreement from the beginning.”

“If you want to have flexible and reasonable planning and arrangements without abiding by those specific terms, at least have a plan B in place as a fall back in the case of future disagreements. That way, you avoid post-judgement litigation,” said Weinberger.

If there’s a disagreement in the future, going to a mediator is a good way to iron things out and make changes to the original plan.

“Sometimes, one parent moves or travels more or activities change with children. So, you’re always welcome to come back and modify and you can modify it in a way that isn’t going to cost everyone by running back into court. In order to do that, coming to a reasonable settlement table in the form of mediation can often times help resolve those issues,” said Weinberger.

Other ways to negotiate more time with the children include asking your ex-spouse for more time and offering to baby-sit the children.

“You’d be surprised how willing your ex may be to accommodate your request especially if they have parties to attend and shopping to do during the holidays.”

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