The holidays are generally a time when families come together. But for separated or divorced parents, the holidays can make it feel like everything is falling apart. Child custody issues can arise at any time, but with travel and other family members involved, the holidays can make those issues even more difficult to deal with.
So here are five legal tips for dealing with child custody issues during the holidays, from our archives:
You may have been through this already with your lawyer or therapist, but there are ways to plan for the holidays that can make it easier on parents and children. Doubling up on celebrations and getting all of the family involved, when possible, can ease the strain of shared custody, but it really comes down to putting the kids first.
Even the best laid child custody schemes can go awry. And identifying the possible issues, before they arise, can make them easier to avoid and deal with. Make sure both parents are clear on travel time, parenting time, and the time (and amount of) gifts.
Some holiday custody skirmishes are unavoidable, but that doesn't mean they need to become full-blown battles or even wars. Being familiar with the existing custody agreement, and being flexible about alterations to the agreement, can mean the difference between a custody conflict and an all-out clash.
When it comes down to it, the most difficult aspect of child custody during the holidays is figuring out who will be where and when. The next hardest is part is making that schedule happen. Be realistic with the holiday itinerary and consider input from the kids, if possible.
And if you need to make changes to that holiday visitation schedule, don't dismay that it will mean more visits to the judge. There are ways to modify a child custody agreement away from the courtroom, so be familiar with your options.
If you're having trouble either making or modifying a child custody plan this holiday season, talk to an experienced local custody attorney today.