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Thanksgiving custody: How to handle it with a minimum of fuss

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Whether you’re still in the process of divorce, newly divorced or have been divorced for a while, the holiday season has the potential to throw a wrench in your routine. Thanksgiving, in particular, can be a problem because it is one holiday that tends to bring families together.

When your family is no longer intact, what’s the best way to cope with the holiday?

Your custody and visitation agreement only give you pieces of the puzzle

More than likely, you have a parenting plan in place that details which parent gets custody over the holiday. Common arrangements include splitting the holiday down the middle and alternating custody every other year.

While that may be fine for you and your co-parent, Thanksgiving often involves assorted other relatives — like grandparents and doting aunts and uncles. They may feel like they’re missing out if they don’t get a chance to see your kids during the holiday — and your kids may feel the same.

A good solution to the problem is simply for each side of the family to hold Thanksgiving on different days. If, for example, your ex has custody on Thanksgiving Day but you have custody on the weekend, you and your extended family may be willing to hold your annual feast on Saturday or Sunday so that they can include the kids.

Ideally, both you and your co-parent will be flexible about the holidays for the sake of your children’s comfort and happiness. Unfortunately, the holiday season can escalate existing tensions between co-parents and end up in legal action. If you feel like your custody rights aren’t being respected, find out more about your legal options.

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