TIPS: What do you do when Divorce proceedings have started, but there is no agreement as to which parent gets the children during the holidays?
- Reach out to your soon to be ex-spouse via text or email (so it is in writing) with your proposed holiday schedule. Remember that if you are asking that the children be with you this year, then most likely the children will be with the other parent next year.
- If you don’t receive a response from the other parent as to your proposed holiday schedule, then let your attorney know what you proposed and have your attorney reach out to opposing counsel. The attorney representing your soon to be ex-spouse has a duty to communicate and notify their client of the request being made.
- Next step would be to schedule a mediation in order to address the holiday schedule. By attending mediation, not only can you work to resolve the upcoming holidays, you can also lay the groundwork for other holidays along with the day-to-day schedule.
- If you still can’t resolve the holiday schedule, you can file a motion with the Court. But understand that it is unlikely that the Court will have the time to hear the motion before the holidays have arrived. Courts prefer to determine a Parenting Plan on a final basis, and not just rule on the holidays.
- Always take the highroad! When communicating with the other parent, act as if the Judge is watching you. Emails, text messages and voice messages you send to the other parent may be admitted in Court. Don’t say anything you would not want the Judge to know you said. Judges look to see which parent is the most flexible and accommodating when co-parenting.
- Never complain to your children that the other parent is doing something wrong – or – is the parent who is preventing them from spending time with other family members (i.e., grandparents and cousins) or preventing them from taking a holiday trip to go skiing. Don’t unload your frustrations on your children by blaming the other parent. Children don’t have the ability/capacity to process these complex issues.
When you place your children’s feelings and interests above your own, then you are being a parent.
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