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When a couple is having marital problems, the emotions become intensified at the holidays. Holidays are a family time with important traditions and an expectation of joy. When parents are having marital problems, the whole family can sense it. When parents are separated, the old traditions are broken and tensions often arise about how the children will spend important holidays. It affects the children, the parents, often the grandparents, and other extended family members.
Sometimes, the parties can work out an appropriate holiday schedule themselves. Other times, they feel they have to resort to the courts for a court-mandated schedule. The decision about holiday visitation is made on a case by case basis when it is brought before a judge.  Usually, the courts require the parties to share holidays in some fashion.
Parents should try to work out a schedule that allows the children to spend time with each parent, and where extended family is involved, with each parent=s extended family. If they can=t work it out on their own, they will be wise to consult a child psychologist and get help in arranging a good schedule. Attorneys experienced in family law can also help a parent understand what a reasonable arrangement would be under the circumstances. It is only when all else fails that parents should resort to the courts, and, if they feel they must have a judge decide it, they need to think carefully about what they request of the judge because both parents are vitally important to a child and the child=s life should be as undisturbed as possible.  
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