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Holidays can test the best parenting plans: tips to get through

Texas families who celebrate the holidays want them to be as joyful as they can be. It can be a challenge to pull off even when the family isn't fractured by a divorce. In those in which the parents have split, the demands of the season can be particularly hard.

Attorneys with solid family law experience know there is great value in crafting creative parenting plans. The state offers solid guidelines that can be helpful in laying out general structures, but solutions that truly meet the needs that are unique to any given family may require special attention. And even then, the best-laid plans can be tested by the stresses of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

There are strategies that many experts agree can help get families of divorce through the trying times. We offer some of them here in hopes that they may help make the season brighter. At the core of the suggestions is the same thing that should always be the priority -- the best interests of the children.

IT should come as no surprise that the first recommendation out of the gate is for parents to commit to solid communication. If plans on either side of the parenting equation involve travel with the children of any kind, share the information. Consider working cooperatively with the other parent on the details, especially if optimal itineraries indicate some variation on the existing shared parenting plan.

Another thing to remember is that the time to speak up if you have a problem with a proposed change is during the planning period. If you agree despite having objections and then balk when the holiday arrives, it can only result in tension.

Coordinate on your gifts for the children. It can be very easy for divorced parents to fall into a competitive mode on presents. Trying to one-up the other parent usually leaves a bitter taste in everyone's mouth and so it's best to cooperate with your ex on gifts for the kids.

In the end, there may be nothing as joyful as displays of genuine courtesy.

Source: The Huffington Post, "8 Tips to Make Holiday Parenting Time Less Stressful," Daniel Clement, accessed Dec. 3, 2015

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