Divorce for parents in Colorado during the holidays can mean added disruption to an already stressful time. On top of dealing with holiday shopping and plans for meals with extended family, divorced or divorcing parents also have to figure out the logistics of travel for children in shared custody situations. In addition, shared custody means children may not get to spend as much time with each parent as they would like, making it easy to fall victim to anxiety and depression.

Although it’s clear that divorce can be more difficult during the holidays for most families, it pays to have a plan in place to deal with the stress. An attorney writing for U.S. News and World Report through WTOP suggests that parents take the time to sit down with children and lay out a schedule for the holidays ahead of time. When children understand in advance where they will be staying and for how long, it can help them to prepare emotionally for separation.

The attorney goes on to recommend that new holiday traditions are introduced gradually. It can be tempting to jump right into a new life after divorce, but taking things slowly allows children to adjust to the new normal on their own terms. Furthermore, shared custody should not become a battle for a child’s loyalty and affection. Both parents will want to have autonomy in how the holidays are celebrated with children, and it only adds to the stress when a parent begins to criticize how the other parent approaches the topic.

Although child custody and visitation orders remain in place during the holidays, a divorce attorney may be able to revisit the subject with parents if an equitable arrangement is not in place. Family law attorneys may also help parents who wish to travel out of state during the holidays while retaining certain custody and visitation rights.