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A focus on co-parenting may make this Halloween less scary

If you ask most kids what their favorite holiday is, many will say it's the one that happens at the end of this month: Halloween. It's the one time of year that we encourage our children to dress up in costumes and meet their neighbors -- all the while having fun and getting some candy to boot.

But if this is your first holiday after a divorce, it can be a scary time. Because Halloween falls on a different day every year, you and your former spouse may not have included it in your parenting plan. You may be wondering then who will have custody of your child for the night or whether you will have the right to visitation that day.

There are some steps though that our Florida readers can take prior to Halloween that will help eliminate the fear and anxiety that can sometimes accompany this holiday.

The first thing to consider is your time-sharing plan. This document should spell out which spouse will have custody of the child and for how long. If this was not included in the document or the time-sharing schedule is not as straightforward as you would like, consider discussing your concerns with your ex. Coming to an agreement before Halloween will help mitigate the chances of a dispute the day of, which brings us to the second thing to consider: communication.

Although keeping the lines of communication open after a particularly contentious divorce can be difficult, communication is important to avoiding problems down the road. Setting aside your emotions and discussing issues ahead of time is a good way for both parents to make sure that they are truly doing what is in the child's best interest.

The third and final thing to consider is your rights. Because not all child custody arrangements occur because of divorce, some parents may not know at what time they can fight for their right to visitation or if they have any parental rights at all. This is a great discussion to have with an attorney who is knowledgeable in family law and can help explain how the law applies to your situation.

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