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Mediation can help families plan smooth, balanced holidays

There is perhaps no more stressful time of the year than the holiday season. Likewise, there are few family events as stressful as divorce or separation. When both of these happen around the same time, a family's stress level can shoot through the roof, if either occurs unplanned. For Houston families, one way to balance the transition of divorce, with the chaos of the holidays, is to prepare for both through mediation.

One of the reasons why the holidays are so draining is, of course, the pressure to give the best gifts. With the help of a mediation attorney, though, spouses can learn that it is best not to be competitive over gifts. If issues such as child custody are discussed thoroughly and conclusions are reached equitably, there is less pressure for parents to show their love via gifts.

Mediation sessions can highlight other helpful tips for holiday gift-giving during and after divorce. Consideration of an ex is still important, regardless of a spouse's personal feelings towards the other parent. For example, if the non-custodial parent gives the child a pet, and the child expects to keep the dog or cat at the other parent's house, the custodial parent can be left feeling as if they are in an impossible spot: they can either disappoint their child or accommodate an unexpected new "family member."

Another thing to consider is mobility. Will children need to pack up their gifts and take them to each parent's house, or will more cumbersome gifts remain permanently at one parent's home? Especially if one parent has a smaller home, lugging-over big playthings can be a strain.

While these may seem like smaller issues, they reflect the larger themes of family reorganization: sharing, compromising and making adjustments. In mediation, these themes can be further explored as they relate to issues such as property division, child support and visitation planning.

Source: The Houston Chronicle, "Holiday gifting can be vexing for kids of divorce," Leanne Italie, Dec. 23, 2013

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

She will take the time to understand your individual needs and develop a comprehensive solution to protect your rights and interests.

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