As a divorced parent, the holiday season has the potential to throw many challenges your way.

Even when you think you’re prepared for everything, something unexpected pops up and slows you down.

Co-parenting during the holidays can be stressful and complicated, but proper preparation can go a long way in putting your mind at ease. Here are four tips you can follow this year:

  • Review your parenting agreement: This is where you’ll find any language associated with how to approach the holiday season. For example, your parenting agreement may include an outline of where your children will spend each specific holiday, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
  • Talk to your ex-spouse in advance: Don’t wait until the last minute to talk to your ex-spouse about your plans and where your children fit in. You may not agree on everything at first, but this allows you to get everything out into the open.
  • Don’t be greedy: Yes, you want to spend all your time with your children during the holidays. However, there’s a good chance that your ex wants to do the exact same thing. If you’re greedy, it will lead to arguments that could have otherwise been avoided.
  • Let your children communicate with their other parent: Even when they’re spending time with you, they may want to communicate with their other parent. Let them make phone calls and send text messages. Cutting them off from communicating will only make matters worse.

It’s your hope that your ex-spouse is willing to take the same approach as you. When this is the case, you’ll find it much easier to give and take with the idea of ensuring that everyone has an enjoyable holiday experience.

Should you find that your ex-spouse doesn’t want to cooperate, you’ll need to consider your options. The first thing you should do is review your parenting agreement. This is a legally binding court order, so your ex can’t ignore it.

If that doesn’t work, it may be time to seek a modification to your child custody agreement or visitation schedule. This will save you from experiencing the same issues in the future.