The Hidden Pitfalls of Child Custody and Visitation During the Christmas Season: Part 1
Updated: Feb 14
If you’ve worked with an effective Child Custody Lawyer, the schedule during Christmas should be the EASY part (just be where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there). BUT, in this 3-part series, we’ll take a look at issues you’ll face during the Christmas season that won’t be addressed in your Court Order and that your lawyer might not have warned you about.
Part 1 - Extend Family Members and Friends.
Your Child Custody Order or Visitation Order controls your Child’s schedule and, to an extent, your schedule, but it does not and should not control the schedules of the extended family and friends with whom we share Christmas and the Holiday Season and you should not expect it to do so.
If like so many caring parents, you are a bit of a people pleaser (or doormat), you will try to accommodate your extended family and their schedules, and here’s how you’ll do it…
You will spend time and energy contacting your Co-Parent; they won’t want to talk to you (but then again, you don't want to talk to them). When you do finally talk to them you’ll ask them to adjust the perfectly workable* schedule and you’ll try to convince them to move things around to accommodate grandparents, aunts, uncles, Christmas parties, and everything in between. The good news would be if the Other Side just said no. The bad news would be that they actually agreed to move some things around but now you owe them, or at least they will say you do and not leave you alone about it and try to make good on the favor you “owe them” at the worst possible time for you and your Children. (*I said a workable schedule, not an adequate one; that’s a different article).
That doesn’t sound good, and it isn’t. Trust us. So here’s what you do…
Respect the grown-up members of your extended family and your friends to allow them to make their own grown-up decision:
“If you would like to hang with the kids this Christmas, I have them from [this date at this time] to [this date at this time]. I’m sure the kids would love to see you if we can plan something during that time frame.”
Avoid “re-litigating your case.” That’s what you're doing when you make informal adjustments to your Court-Ordered Child Custody Schedule or Visitation Schedule. The Court Order even encourages you to do this and your friends with the perfect Co-Parenting relationship will tell you that they’re amazing at it, but it snowballs on you. The first time you ask for an adjustment you now owe them one. Again, trust us. And when they do it you won’t want them to have the last word on it so you’ll ask again and now we’re off to the races…
Our position is that adjustments to the Child Custody Schedule and Visitation Schedule should be pursued in an emergency or out of absolute necessity. Part of your responsibility as an adult Co-Parent is to schedule your life into the time you have with your Child.
And during the Christmas season, if they want to hang with your kids, it’s also part of your extended family’s responsibility.
Thanks for reading and CLICK THIS LINK FOR PART 2 of our Christmas series on The Hidden Pitfalls of Child Custody and Visitation during the Christmas Season. If you’d like a notification when we publish new, free information that can help you stand up for yourself in your Child Custody, Divorce, DHR Defense, or Adoption page, make sure to follow us on Facebook or subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of this page.
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This article contains general information and should not be construed as legal advice for you and or your unique situation. ~SW, Foxtrot