Parents and children in Arizona normally enjoy a healthy mix of enjoyment and anxiety during the holidays due to the bustle of activity characteristic of this time of the year. However, families dealing with the added dynamics of divorce and the logistics of two households often face added dilemmas. Tension between exes can further complicate matters, which is why the recommendations discussed below are often made to help parents still experience the joy of spending the holidays with their children without added stress.

Keeping the focus on children requires an effort by both parents to put aside feelings of anger and resentment. If this proves to be a difficult task, counseling or support from friends may be helpful. Putting children’s well-being first means that parents are advised to avoid purposely preventing the other one from seeing kids during scheduled visitations. Coordination and clarity are equally important. Developing a mutually acceptable plan during the holidays, for instance, can involve predetermining how, when, and where picking up and dropping off will occur.

Kids tend to do better emotionally when they know what to expect. Preparing children can also extend to parents encouraging them to have fun without making efforts to compete with gifts or holiday plans. As for handling returns from visits, it’s generally best if parents only ask for details of what their child did with their former spouse if they’re prepared to listen in a respectful, nonjudgmental manner. Otherwise, it may be better for a parent with lingering resentment towards their ex to avoid seeking too many details.

While it is possible for families to successfully adjust to a combination of new and old traditions during the holidays after a divorce, there are times when a custody dispute requires attention from an attorney. If the well-being of the child isn’t involved, a lawyer may attempt to seek a mutually acceptable resolution without turning to the courts. With some situations, it may be necessary to modify an existing custody agreement to accommodate changes with circumstances, such as a parent’s relocation, remarriage, or employment status. Visitation schedules are sometimes adjustable as well.