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Divorce, kids and holiday-season expectation setting

With the Halloween decorations up and Thanksgiving next month, the holiday season is almost upon us. 

For many families that have experienced divorce, this can be an especially difficult time. And this is especially true if the divorce is a recent one.

That is why divorced people in Illinois and across and country are wise to start planning now about how to make the holidays as enjoyable as possible for all concerned. And of course the issues are especially sensitive when there are children involved and child custody or visitation issues to be considered.

To be sure, much depends on the particular dynamics of your relationship with your ex-spouse. If it is a relaxed and peaceful one, conversation about where the children will be, and with whom, is naturally in order.

Even if dialog is more difficult, it makes sense to try to work things out as much as possible. Keep in mind, too, that it isn't only this year that is involved, either. Indeed, you may be able to agree on a rotation that covers several years, perhaps alternating from year to year on who gets the kids at Thanksgiving and who gets them at Christmas.

Be aware, however, that the holidays are often an emotionally challenging time. This is true across the board in American life, regardless of marital status. Somehow our society seems to insist on a level of expectation that sets everyone up for failure.

It is therefore up to each of us to set individual expectations accordingly. And part of the process of doing that, after divorce, is being mindful of how that event has affected your relationships.

Source: Huffington Post, "Holiday Season Approaching -- What Divorcing Parents Need to Prepare for," Karen Stewart, Oct. 8, 2013

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