The Hidden Pitfalls of Child Custody and Visitation during the Christmas Season: Part 2
Updated: Dec 22, 2022
The Child Custody Schedule or Visitation Schedule can be hectic during Christmas. Everyone knows that. Dealing with your side of the family can feel like herding cats without even considering the stress and uncertainty of dealing with the Other Side. We help our clients deal with their Christmas Visitation Schedule and much more during the Holiday Season, so here’s another Hidden Pitfall that you can be prepared for…
Part 2: The new toys may not need to travel.
How many of you have seen a Child receive a new toy or book and your Child is so elated and attached the item ends up in bed with the Child for the night like Woody in Toy Story? Maybe the toy is back in bed the next night, too? On night 3, though, you and your kiddo are getting ready for bed and the moment of terror hits you and your Child at the exact same moment. Where’s Woody?!?! The next 30 minutes might be spent on hands and knees searching for your Child’s favorite new needle in a haystack of other toys, clothes, dishes, diaper bags, and whatever else remains strewn about the house during the hectic Christmas season… and this while your child is having a full-blown, overtired meltdown until, thankfully, Woody is found, Child is back nestled snug in bed, sugar plums dancing away.
But now imagine, if you even have to, that that new favorite toy traveled to the Other Side’s house and didn’t come back. Now it’s 9:00 p.m. at night, maybe later, and there’s little to be done without a phone call you don’t want to make under the least chaotic circumstances and this situation isn’t even close. (* worse yet, maybe the Other Side is out of town or lives far away and you’re faced with getting through the night and then paying for UPS shipping of that toy for the second time this month if you can convince the Other Side to even participate in dealing with this.) (And, I’ll go ahead and tell you, there is not a family court judge anywhere that wants to hear about how the Other Side wouldn’t help you ship a toy back that the Child left; they will, and it’s valid, but if you’ve ever wanted to see a hard eye-roll that’s a good spot for one).
At Foxtrot, we didn’t learn in law school how to deal with a Child’s entertainment supply chain, especially in a complex Co-Parenting environment. We’ve had to learn through experience, both that of our clients and our own. Nonetheless, knowing is half the battle and there’s, even more, you can consider avoiding your and your Child’s own logistical nightmare after Christmas.
Rule 1: Only one toy travels.
If Santa brought a handful of new playthings for kiddo to enjoy, you're blessed that Child loves them all, but now it’s time to go to the Other Side’s house for a few days, it’s time for an important decision…
but not one that you’ll have to make. It’s time for your child to choose which toy travels.
Candidly, this is a win-win. Kiddo needs to start making decisions and learning to deal with the FOMO that comes with having priorities even among several positive options. But more importantly, for today’s purposes, you and the Other Side only have to keep up with one toy during the Child’s stay at the Other Side’s house. You’ve only got one more item to add to the Checklist on your phone (notes, google keep, analyst, etc.) for review each time your Child comes and goes. The calculated struggle of selecting one new toy as a fellow traveler pales compared to the helplessness and headache of a search and rescue mission in enemy territory.
(Speaking of which, if you don’t have a checklist that includes the child’s clothing, shoes, medicine, etc. do yourself a favor and get in the habit. Crossing an item off of a list is extremely gratifying, psychologically, not to mention practically effective.)
Rule 2: Certain toys have homes.
The Other Side of the One Toy Travels coin is that the Other Toys stay in their “home.” Children personify their things anyways so this concept shouldn’t be much of a challenge.
The only tricky part is the perspective of the Parent. To accept that a significant portion of your Child’s things “live” at your place implies that another significant amount lives at the Other Side’s place. So, you’re going to hear about your Child missing some of the things at the Other Side’s house, and you're going to think to yourself how horrible the Other Side is for not allowing those things to travel then you’re going to remember that you either are or should be doing the same thing.
Rule 3: Have two.
If a Child has latched onto a particular item, literally and figuratively, and the item is inexpensive enough that a spare won’t break the bank, it’s worth having a spare in the bottom drawer or top shelf of a closet somewhere.
Or maybe there’s not so much a spare so much as one item that lives at your house and one that lives at the Other Side’s house so neither item needs to travel back and forth.
Admittedly, this can get complicated and is a bit of a last resort, but there will be certain items, and your child will let you know what they are when you’ll just need one on standby. Heck, adults have their version, too.
Rule 4: Make your own rules.
At Foxtrot, we know enough to know that we don’t know…not nearly as well as you do, what’s right for your family. If there’s any kind of fundamental concept here, it’s that planning ahead and HAVING a policy is more important than whatever that policy happens to be.
Your Child is unique; so are their needs. Your family and Co-Parenting circumstances are unique, and you are in the best position to give a little thought to how to help your Children manage their cherished belongings.
Thanks for reading and CLICK HERE FOR PART 3 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