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  • Writer's pictureStephen Williams

Gift-Giving in Child Custody – Part 2.1. Choosing a Gift

You don’t need the Other Side’s direction, advice or permission to get your child something nice for Christmas, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be thoughtful (literally, as in “involving thought”) when you purchase gifts for your children during the holidays. You’re a grown up and have every right to get your child whatever you please, within reason, but you should make an informed decision and go in with your eyes open about the dynamic this may create between you and the Other Side, if for no other reason than that dynamic will trickle down to your child, however slightly, if only in an “energy in the room” sense.

Last time in Part 1 we talked about gift-giving issues as they relate to Child Support. This time, we look at the logistical and emotional pitfalls of the gift itself and how to avoid them. Children being raised by both parents in a nuclear family unit have enough trouble identifying potential gifts, affording them and ultimately deciding on the gift. Anyone in Child Custody or Co-Parenting is going to face even more challenges, some subtle, some not so.

The following are not instructions or commandments. They are ideas. You are a parent or a caring relative. Before that, you’re a grown up. Again, you don’t need mine, anyone’s and certainly not the Other Side’s permission before pulling the trigger on whatever gift you please, but you, and maybe even your child, will have to deal with the fallout. Thus, please keep these ideas in mind…

Consider Discussing Your Gift Idea with the Other Side

Wait a minute…didn’t I just go on about how you don’t need anyone’s permission? much less the Other Side’s? Sure did. Consider discussing it with the Other Side. You don’t actually have to do it. And, even you do discuss it with the Other Side, you don’t have to agree with or do whatever the Other Side says. Ask yourself some questions…

– will this turn into an argument?

If you think it will turn into an argument, ask yourself “why?” Are you thinking of getting a “controversial” gift for the wrong reasons. Is the Other Side being unreasonable?

– will this be a thoughtful (both literally and in the considerate sense) discussion about the objective merits of the gift or will the Other Side just find fault with anything and everything you do?

Unfortunately, and hopefully obviously, a situation like this is not about the gift. You’re in a toxic Co-Parenting relationship and that’s terrible and we’re so very sorry. But, you’re not going to change the Other Side and you’re going to need guidance and advocacy navigating the day-to-day challenges of adverse Co-Parenting and you should have a Child Custody lawyer whether it’s with Foxtrot or someone else. You can schedule a consultation with us at or visit consider other options.

A couple of extra benefits of discussing gift-giving with the Other Side is you can (1) gauge reaction and (2) grease the skids a bit even if the reaction is negative. Each of us often overreacts, either positively or negatively, to certain things. A certain gift may sound like a bad idea to the Other Side at first but fires may cool and maybe, just maybe, the Other Side will come around by the time the gift arrives…

As tends to happen with Child Custody issues, this is a complex discussion and we want to give this subject matter the same thought and attention we’re asking you to give. We’ll continue this discussion in our next post. So like our Facebook page, follow us on Instagram or subscribe to this blog and be on the lookout for more information to help you be effective in your Child Custody and Co-Parenting case. Thanks for reading!


This article contains general information and should not be construed as legal advice for you and or your unique situation. If you would like to speak more about how you, as a Committed Parent or Caring Relative, can be more effective in your Child Custody case, please visit to schedule your initial consultation at one of our offices. ~SW, Foxtrot

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