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Making The Complex Understandable

Coordinating Halloween activities as divorced parents

This time of year, newly-separated and divorced parents start thinking about how they're going to coordinate the holiday season amid their new family dynamic. However, before you start thinking about Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's, there's Halloween. If you have young kids, that's a big one.

Whatever your relationship with your spouse and regardless of what the new family situation is, remember that Halloween is about the kids. Therefore, it's essential to keep the focus on them and make it a special night. There are a number of ways to do this.

First, discuss Halloween plans with your ex ahead of time. Some couples even include Halloween in their custody agreements. If you haven't, don't put your children in the middle or ask them to choose between the two of you. If one of you isn't able to spend Halloween with the kids for whatever reason, assure them that you'll be fine. Don't make them feel guilty.

If you and your ex have an amicable relationship, you can take them trick-or-treating or to a Halloween event together. Just don't give them false hope that it means you're getting back together. Let them know that it's just about enjoying the holiday as a family.

If you and your spouse live nearby, but in different neighborhoods, you may want to split up the evening and let them go trick-or-treating with each of you.

You may want to take the kids to Halloween events on different days or nights. These days, there are many alternatives to trick-or-treating. You can each choose an activity or attend a party with them. You may choose to have them over to your home to carve pumpkins, decorate or select a costume.

Regardless of how you choose to celebrate the holiday with your kids, share (or let them share) photos and videos with your ex. This will help keep your child's other parent from feeling left out and give him or her memories to keep and cherish.

If you and your ex have difficulty working out Halloween plans, things are likely only going to get worse during the upcoming holidays. If necessary, you may want to talk with your family law attorney about documenting holiday arrangements in your custody agreement.

Source: Huffington Post, "Halloween Trick or Treat Tips for Parents With Kids of Divorce," Diane L. Danois, J.D., accessed Oct. 13, 2015

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