With the holiday season quickly approaching, it won’t be long before you begin to finalize your plans. If you’re divorced and have children with your ex-spouse, it goes without saying that you’ll have some questions and concerns about what the holidays will bring to your life.

It doesn’t matter if your children live with you or you have visitation rights, it’s critical to follow a variety of parenting tips during this busy time of the year. Here are five things to keep in mind:

  • Communicate with the other parent as soon as possible: By letting the other parent know your holiday plans, it’s easier for everyone to get on the same page and stay on the same page. Do your best to keep the schedule you discuss, as altering it can throw the other parent for a curve.
  • Be respectful of the other parent’s time: Even if you had a bad divorce, it doesn’t mean you should disrespect your ex-spouse every chance you get. Just the same, you should expect this person to treat you with respect.
  • Cooperate: You’re sure to have disagreements, but the holidays are a good time to forget about these. You want your children to enjoy this time of the year, so do whatever it takes to cooperate.
  • Remain flexible: It may go against your nature, but flexibility during the holidays is a must. This is even more so the case if you’re dealing with child custody and visitation concerns.
  • Let your children visit with extended family: Don’t attempt to keep your children away from your ex-spouse’s side of the family. Instead, let your children visit with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins (among others). This will make everyone happier in the end.

With a parenting agreement in place, you should have a basic idea of the best way to approach the holidays. Even so, you can expect challenges to arise every now and again. How you deal with them can make or break the holiday experience.

In the event that your ex-spouse continues to violate the parenting agreement, determined to ruin your holidays, you may need to take legal action. There are steps you can take to protect your legal rights, all with the idea of spending time with your children.