The holidays can be stressful for many of us. For divorced parents managing the holiday parent times issues can add a whole other level of stress. Not surprisingly, many divorced parents tend not to agree on all the child related issues during the Christmas season. When do you get the kids, when do I get the kids, where and when to drop off, who picks up, and on on. We all know the kids suffer the most when parents are unable to get along during this time of year and the kids are trapped in the middle. That can really dampen their holiday spirits. For that reason we provide a couple tips to help avoid custody arguments that may arise for holiday parent time.
Discuss Issues Early
The terms of your divorce decree may not work well this year for you, or the kids, or for anyone. However, you will be held to the terms of the decree unless your ex spouse agrees to something different. Therefore, if you know you are going to need a variance on your holiday parent time to make it work, talk to your ex about this early. People are more likely and able to agree to minor changes on parent time if they have advance notice. Try never to spring up issues that could result in a fight last minute. Even if your ex won’t agree, it is better to go through that battle a month before Christmas than the day before. This way the children are not exposed to conflict so close to the holiday and if necessary you can make other arrangements.
Know What Your Decree and the Statutes Actually Say
I can’t tell you how many times a client has called us thinking their ex is breaking the terms of their divorce decree only to later realize the terms actually didn’t favor them. The first step if there is a disagreement on holiday parent time is determine what your own responsibilities under your decree are. Often a divorce decree will refer to dividing holidays based on the “standard statutory schedule.” This can be tricky and even St. George Divorce Lawyers sometimes get the terms of the statutes wrong. Nonetheless, the best thing to do is to go over the terms of the statutes with you divorce attorney to arrive at the proper meaning. Once you know what your obligations are, you can have a more informed conversation with your ex or have your lawyer discuss the matter for you.