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Don't let your former spouse ruffle your feathers on turkey day

Are you one of many Louisiana residents who gets stressed out during the holidays? Holiday depression is a real problem for some, and if you recently divorced, then your challenges may go far beyond your typical problems of what to make for dinner, how many guests to invite or whether you should spend Thanksgiving at home or abroad. In fact, if your former spouse is trying to throw a wrench into your plans, you may be wanting the holiday season to end before it even begins.

You are definitely not the first person to face custody or visitation issues during the holidays, nor will you likely be the last. However, knowing you're not alone doesn't necessarily solve your problem. The key to a swift and successful holiday problem resolution is knowing your rights and how to protect them. You may also want to consider various low-stress holiday ideas that have helped others in the past.

Solid parenting plan can help avoid holiday stress

Thanksgiving is typically the holiday that kicks off an entire season of celebration that extends through New Year festivities. Nothing can ruin your gathering more than having to fight the person to whom you're no longer married over where your children will be eating their pumpkin pie. The following reminders may help you avert holiday disaster:

  • Get it all in writing from the get go: As soon as you decided to divorce, you knew you would need a parenting plan for the future. The court typically allows parents to submit their own proposed plans for approval, unless extenuating circumstances prompt the court to determine the plan. Getting everything in writing, including where your children will spend Thanksgiving, Christmas or Kwanzaa or any other holiday important to your family can help you avoid potential disputes.
  • Be willing to compromise in a pinch: Plans are helpful, but life has a way of throwing curve balls. If a change of plan is needed due to unforeseen circumstances on your part or your former spouse's, it's generally best if children witness their parent's willingness to cooperate for their sakes.
  • Lists help in negotiations: If you're a partying kind of family and you know there will be many special events and holidays that you wish to celebrate with your children in a given year, it may be helpful if you and your spouse exchange lists of your individual preferences, then use those lists as a foundation for negotiating specific terms that will be included in your parenting plan.
  • Know where to seek support if needed: Stress can increase if you feel overwhelmed and unsure where to get help if you need it. An experienced family law attorney is a great asset to have on hand should legal issues threaten to ruin your holiday fun.

Just because you're no longer married doesn't mean you can't build lasting memories and provide positive holiday experiences for your children. Adults who are willing to keep their children's best interests at heart have the greatest chances of success. If you're doing your part, but your former spouse is violating your court order or trying to thwart your holiday plans with your children, you can protect your rights and seek the court's immediate intervention.

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