‘Tis the Season to Coexist With the Former Spouse

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C posted in Visitation on Monday, December 10, 2012

The holiday season can be stressful even under the best of circumstances. Divorced parents probably find their patience and Christmas spirit put to the test more than most.

We recently came across a column by a family law attorney offering suggestions on ways to cool animosity and warm the hearts of parents struggling with child custody issues after a divorce.

She offers a number of tips, including the following:

Find your most recent court order regarding your child custody arrangements and look it over. Does it include a holiday schedule? If so, familiarize yourself with the dates and times you are to have your children and the dates and times your ex is to have them.

Then send a friendly reminder to the ex of those dates and times, so that everyone understands what’s expected. If changes or negotiations are needed, at least everyone can begin those discussions with a clear understanding of the court order.

Write out the schedule and post it for your kids. In that way, they too can be aware of the schedule.

Flexibility is important. If your former spouse has visiting relatives, strongly consider bending the schedule to allow your kids to spend time with the relatives. There’s no reason to punish a child by withholding time with grandparents or others.

If you’re worried about a child visiting a parent who lives far away, talk over your concerns about child abduction — or any other issues — with your family law attorney. It’s possible that you might need to ask for a modification of a court order.

Also check to see if it’s permissible to take a minor out of the state with you on a holiday trip. In many cases, you need written permission from the other parent.

It’s much better to check with a family lawyer on these matters than have a holiday ruined by disagreements or violated court orders.

Source: Washington Times, “Divorced families can still enjoy happy holidays with a little planning,” Nov. 21, 2012

  • Our Missouri law firm represents clients in the St. Louis area on a wide variety of family law issues, including child custody and visitation disputes.