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The holiday season can be a stressful affair at the best of times. The pressure we put on ourselves at this time of year is enormous and its easy to understand why difficult discussions about parenting arrangements over the holidays get put on the backburner.

Whether you are recently separated or separated years ago, communication is important for peaceful co-parenting during the holiday season.

It’s reasonable to want to spend time with your children, but it’s also likely that the other parent will want to do the same. Child custody arrangements can be a source of tension which children can detect. Here's our tips to ensure holidays and special events are stress free for parents and their children:

1. Discuss parenting arrangements early

Chances are that if you are in doubt about what the arrangements are, your ex is too and its far better to clarify any questions early than to let things spiral downwards. Interstate travel during the summer break is one thing that can cause legal headaches for parents with shared custody arrangements, so it’s essential that an agreement is reached well in advance of the planned holiday

2. If in doubt, communicate

A good rule of thumb is that if you are in doubt about whether to discuss something with your ex, then discuss it. When you are considering an extravagant gift for example, such as a mobile phone or a tablet, you may wish to share those thoughts with your ex.

3. Get organised now

The courts and various government agencies shut down for Christmas and delays for paperwork are unavoidable. If you have travel plans for the holidays and need to apply for a passport or to obtain your child’s passport from their other parent, its best to have those discussions soon to avoid disappointment.

Think about the memories you want your children to have of this holiday season. Children pick up on efforts their parents make to co-operate and, whether consciously or not, they'll be grateful for your efforts.

Thank you for your feedback.

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