Your child custody plan works for 90 percent of the year. The holidays are chaotic, though. You want to make some changes so that you can properly enjoy the holiday season with your kids.

Experts note that you can ask to make modifications, but you have to remember that your ex can say no. Even if you go to court to see if you can alter the legal agreement, you may be turned down. Don't assume starting out that you'll get what you want, or it can lead to a lot of conflict.

To give yourself the best chance of success, be specific. If you're not, it may look like you're just trying to ruin your ex's schedule out of spite. Your ex is far less likely to agree, as is the court.

For instance, maybe you always have Christmas with your parents and siblings on the weekend after the actual holiday. This year, though, your Mom decided to plan it for the weekend before Christmas. You just want to switch it so that your own children can come see their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Telling your ex what happened may help tremendously because it shows that you have a real reason to make the change. It also opens up the door for negotiation. Perhaps your ex has a date he or she wants to change. Maybe you can work together to create a plan that gives both of you what you want in the end.

Negotiating after divorce can be difficult. Be sure you bring the right mindset to the table. If you ever think your rights are being violated by your ex, or if you do need to go to court, it could be time to look into your legal options, as well.

Source: The Spruce, "How to Negotiate a Joint Custody Holiday Schedule," Jennifer Wolf, accessed Nov. 14, 2017

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