Child custody disputes often arise during the holidays, when schedules are hectic and emotions are running high. If you need help requesting a modification to your custody order or negotiating custody over the holidays, contact an Ocean Township divorce lawyer at Fox & Melofchik, L.L.C. In the meantime, the following are some steps divorced couples can take to ensure peaceful parenting time at the holidays.
Custody agreements often contain provisions pertaining to travel and sharing time during the holidays. Before making plans to travel with the child out-of-state, parents should review the order to ensure it is allowable. The custody order should also include a holiday visitation schedule that dictates where and with whom the child will spend the holidays.
Communication is key when it comes to avoiding custody battles. Parents who communicate with each other can prevent confusion regarding the holiday schedule and issues, such as duplicate gifts. It is therefore important for parents to keep the lines of communication open and be cooperative during the holidays.
The holidays can be a difficult time for divorced or separated parents. Whereas both parents used to spend every holiday with them, now the children may be splitting their time between parents. Each parent should plan for time without the children to prepare for the disruption that may be associated with such a change in schedule.
If the child is old enough, consider asking for their opinion. They may have a preference as to whom they would like to spend the holidays with, what activities they would like to do, or what events they would like to attend. Children’s input, though often overlooked, can be valuable when it comes to planning for the holidays.
Remaining flexible can help ensure that the holidays go smoothly. It is important to keep the child’s best interests in mind; for example, if everyone cannot be present together on the same day, consider planning two separate celebrations for the child to attend.
It is better not to wait until the last minute to negotiate joint custody agreements. Having a plan helps alleviate confusion and conflict during the holidays. It can also be difficult to secure a hearing before a judge; however, parents may modify their holiday visitation schedule by coming to an agreement outside of court.
If both parents agree, they may draft an informal custody modification agreement that includes:
Each parent should keep a copy of the signed agreement as proof in case the other party changes their mind in the future. If parents are unable to come to an agreement, they may want to consider speaking to an attorney who can explain their legal options and ensure that their rights are protected.
If you need assistance in drafting or modifying your parenting agreement for the holidays, contact an Ocean Township divorce lawyer at Fox & Melofchik, L.L.C. Our experienced attorneys can help mediate your dispute or represent your interests in court. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 732-493-9400.
Located in Eatontown, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, Mercer County, Ocean Township, Fair Haven, Eatontown, Red Bank, Tinton Falls, Shrewsbury, Middletown Township, Wall Township, Sea Girt, and Spring Lake.