Now that temperatures are dropping, some people will gleefully begin planning for the holidays. Depending on the size of the family and the scale of holiday celebrations, it can take weeks or even months to arrange for a family dinner and everything that comes with a large holiday celebration.

If you have recently divorced or have separated from your spouse, the holidays can be particularly difficult for you and for the children. Have you already figured out how you will handle shared custody during the holidays this year?

You and your ex can talk about which special days are priorities

Maybe you have always thrown spectacular 4th of July barbecues, while your ex is the one that gets so excited about the kids opening presents on Christmas morning. Your preferences can directly influence how you choose to split up the holidays.

You can split the holidays you don’t particularly care about and then find a system for alternating or splitting the holidays that you would both like to share, including the birthdays of your children.

Have you thought about what can make things easiest for the kids?

Adjusting to shared custody is often difficult for children, especially when they have expectations about certain days. Instead of centering yourself in discussions about custody around the holidays, try to think about what will be best for your kids.

Does your ex have an extended family that your children enjoy spending time with, while you don’t have any family in state? If so, the holidays might be much more enjoyable for your kids if they spend the actual day with your ex. Do you think that you could tolerate most of the day with your ex and their family so that everyone can be together? Your children will undoubtedly appreciate such a magnanimous approach because they want to be close to everyone they love on special days.

You have an opportunity to work together to create functional and positive custody arrangements for your children. Prioritizing what will be best for the kids instead of your own feelings can be difficult but will most likely benefit everyone in your family in a long-term sense.