Getting the Most Out of the Holidays as a Co-Parent
The holiday season is meant to be filled with cheer for every family, but we know that’s just not the case. Some families have taken on a different form this year, and the holiday season will be a challenge as children and parents adjust to living apart from one another. At The FAB Law Firm, we want to help you navigate these next few months to make sure you not only get the time you’re owed as a parent but also are able to manage the stress.
You may be the custodial parent or just have visitation rights assigned by the courts. Whatever side of the coin you’re on, there’s still reason to be wary of the holiday season having to manage the expectations of your children and the time that they get with your ex. It’s important to be patient and flexible, but also proactive.
Advocate For Your Rights NOW
If you’re reading this ahead of Thanksgiving or in early December and want to make sure you get the time you’re owed with your kids then the time to advocate for those rights is today. You can’t afford to wait too long, because the courts aren’t generally going to rush your case this time of year.
If your co-parent indicates they’re going to be taking the kids out of town to see family when it’s supposed to be your time then you need to get in touch with an attorney immediately. The court can step in and make sure you’re given the time you’re owed with your family. In some custody and visitation cases, the court will dictate a specific holiday schedule purely because the courts recognize how important these times are to families.
Your best chance at getting a swift agreement is to work with your ex on a mutual schedule. Maybe you give some leeway for Thanksgiving to win some extra time during Christmas. Take a look at your own traditions and recall the traditions of your ex’s family and see if there’s a middle ground that makes sense.
Remember: It’s About Your Kids
It can be easy to get heated right now and try to get one up on your ex. Resist this temptation – the situation ultimately centers around your children and what they want/need. Talk to them and have an open conversation about what they want during the holidays and whether or not you’re simply fighting for yourself or centering your efforts around them.
The court will always favor the best interests of the child, so if you’re putting your kids first you may earn favor with the courts. This can open you up for additional custody or visitation rights in the new year. Ultimately, your kids won’t hate if they get TWO Thanksgivings and TWO Christmases.
Don’t Let Anger Boil Over
These conversations can get ugly. You may want to take out some anger on your ex and get into a shouting match. Don’t let it get that far. You have a duty to yourself, your children, and your family to remain level-headed.
Some families end up having dreadful holidays because nobody is getting along and there’s constant bickering. Remember that this is meant to be a time of hope and cheer – an opportunity to put the last year behind us and move forward to a happy new year. We’ve previously talked about managing divorce stress so it doesn’t get to a boiling point.At the FAB Law Firm, we know the ins and outs of the custody system in Florida. We can help you protect the rights you’ve already earned and maybe even earn more so you can have a happy holiday season with your loved ones. Contact us as soon as possible to get this wrapped up in time.