SO, ‘TIS THE SEASON. Words we think of to define this season are…festive, peace be on earth, good tidings to all, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and other statements to evoke love, peace and goodwill.

Equally pervasive, unfortunately, are child custody disputes between parents who, rather than keeping their eyes on the proverbial ball, prefer to use this time of year to attempt to gain an advantage against the other parent in the area of custody schedules.

There are those parents who do not have a custody order, which defines their time with their children, and, parents who do have a custody order, but prefer to use the Order as a weapon in their custodial dispute against the other parent.

We, in the family law world, see frequent disputes and disagreements over custodial time and schedules during this time of year. Those disagreements are especially prevalent in the weeks leading up the Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season.

Parents need to remember one cardinal rule: Your children love both of you and they want to spend time with both parents. A parent with their own agenda, rather than the agenda of allowing your child to enjoy time with both parents during this season, is not acting in the child’s best interest.

The most common custody schedules are either a sharing of the holiday, with one parent having half the Winter Holiday and the other parent the other half, or, one parent having the entire Winter Holiday Break from School in 2016, then the other parent in 2017, and alternating thereafter.

Whichever it is, remember, your child will enjoy their time with both parents. Because one parent doesn’t like the other parent doesn’t mean your child agrees with your feelings.

Each parent needs to do their best to:

  1. Be on time for custodial exchanges;
  2. Speak kindly of the other parent to your child; and
  3. Encourage your child to enjoy their time with the other parent.

Remember, if this year is not your year for custodial time over Thanksgiving or the Holidays, next year will be. You’ll want the same reciprocal conduct from the other parent at that time.


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