The Holiday Season is a time of joy and stress for everyone. This is particularly the case for parents who have children from divorce or paternity with child exchanges. Holiday time is magical for children and there is a finite amount of this holiday time. Both parents want their time. However, the legal system cannot get back this time by a subsequent legal proceeding, so try to avoid unnecessary conflict.
Sometimes there is no ability to resolve any and all issues and a court action for contempt or modification is merely reflected and magnified by holiday parenting disputes. However, if the dispute is just a reflection of wanting to maximize time and perhaps unknowingly, here a are a few tips for minimizing disputes for the Holidays.
First, clearly communicate in advance with the other parent about the drop off and pick up times. Try to get confirmation of agreement. Know what the court order is for parenting time and what the parenting time guidelines applicable to your case reflect (these have changed over time). Not understanding the order or parenting time can be the problem itself.
Second, be flexible if there is a reasonable reason for the parties to want to change times or agree to deviate. Every holiday is unique, and if either parent has a legitimate reason to want to change a little, consider it. Perhaps a relative is sick or in town for the first time in a long time. It only hurts the children to miss that opportunity.
Third, have a plan to diffuse conflict worked out and prepared in advance. A little gift given from “the children” (wrapped in a Christmas bag) given at the second a dispute is about to arise result in a fight, will go a long way and completely eliminate that dispute. Happy times benefit everyone and the children at divorce.
Fourth, make a concerted effort not to interrupt the other parent’s time with calls, but do involve the other parent; a phone call on Christmas eve or morning to the other parent or a text with a photo will go a long way. Remember this should be sent to involve the other parent not provoke or antagonize. Only the parties know the other and understand how to make this work.
Fifth and finally, no matter what challenge is presented during the holidays, look at it as a problem like at work. Figure out a solution and work backward to make the time happy for everyone. Solve the problem, don’t fight about it.
If these tips fail, then consider legal remedies. We hope these practical tips help you make the most of the 2015 holiday season and those after. This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. This blog is not intended to be legal advice or a solicitation for representation. Ciyou & Dixon attorneys practice domestic law throughout Indiana. We hope you have a happy holiday season.