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Divorce Doesn't Have to End Those Trips to Yellowstone

American divorce has always included a substantial amount of variance from case to case for how ex-spouses across the country continue to relate post-dissolution, both with each other and together - if at all - with the kids. Many ex-partners, in past years as well as now, keep a firm distance from their ex, seeing their kids only within the contours of a clearly spelled out visitation agreement that specifies their time as opposed to that of their ex-mate. Others are more amicably disposed and flexible and not so worried about the details concerning shared time, child custody and so forth.

Some have even learned to take it to another - albeit not yet commonplace - level in which the divorced parents even vacation with their kids, sometimes with their new partners and families in tow.

Actor Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, his former wife, are firm advocates of that arrangement, citing the well-being of their kids as the primary motivation for group vacations. "It's hard to understand, but we go on holidays together," Willis says. "We still raise our kids together - we still have that bond."

So do many millions of other parents, obviously, who are increasingly embracing the trend and finding it doable and even enjoyable. They cite many benefits.

One, for instance, is that it is easier to oversee and entertain kids with more than one adult aiding in the effort. Another is that vacations post-divorce are often more tranquil than they were prior to a split. "To be honest," says one older child of a divorced couple in a family that continues to vacation together, "vacations all together since they split are less stressful than when they were together."

The concept "gets my complete endorsement," says Fran Walfish, a family psychologist, as long as expectations are clear and ground rules are firmly established.

The bottom line for many ex-partners is that the experience is well worth the effort simply for the interaction it fosters with the kids and the shared memories it creates.

Related Resource: www.washingtonpost.com "When mom and dad are divorced, vacationing with the kids may mean traveling with the ex" March 16, 2011

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