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Yes, even gifts can be a problem after a divorce

With divorce comes many added complexities to your life. The holidays, of course, can become something of a logistical nightmare, moving children from multiple locations over multiple days to ensure that parents and grandparents all have an opportunity to spend time with their children and grandchildren.

In addition, after a divorce, an unexpected challenge can develop around gifts for the children. There is always the risk that divorced parent rivalry can devolve into a nuclear arms race, designed to upstage the other parent and demonstrate love as measured by dollar signs. This, of course, is hardly optimal. 

If you and your former spouse can avoid this type of overindulgence, holiday gifts and gifts from anytime of the year may still present an additional challenge. Because in a joint custody arrangement, the children typically move between the two parents, you may have to manage the movement of some of these gifts.

While a favorite blanket or stuffed animal may be easy to keep track of, if the gift consists of a Play Station or an Xbox, you are faced with unhooking the system and the need to organize all of the necessary accessories, including the games, and ensure they accompany the children as they transit between their parent's homes.

Other challenges may include storage space. If a parent has downsized to an apartment after the divorce, they will not have a three-car garage or basement to store "stuff." That can lead to some equipment needing to have "custody" arrangement, where it lives at one parent's home, but may travel with the children.

As with most issues, flexibility and communication can help all parties cope with difficulties that occur.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, "After divorce, kids’ gifts can get tricky," Leanne Italie, December 24, 2013

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