Happier Holidays

Holidays can bring additional stress upon both parents and children.

1. The first hint is to make sure that all exchange times and dates are clearly defined before the holiday period in a written holiday schedule. The Courts are not sympathetic to parties that fail to timely file a request for a holiday custody schedule and often will not grant ex parte (emergency) relief to a party that fails to secure written orders. If a party refuses to execute a passport authorization, the Court will often grant relief such as signing the authorization in place of the party refusing. However, if you fail to leave adequate time, the relief may be denied.

2. Try to limit the amount of exchanges that the children have to undergo. Custody exchanges are the most stressful for children because they are often forced to experience close contact between their parents. Often times children love both parents but know the hatred between the parents. This is sad, stressful and emotionally overwhelming for children. The remedy is that neither parent should exchange words during exchanges so the children can build trust that exchanges will be peaceful.

3. Often times parents want to have multiple exchanges on holidays such as Christmas, which means the children have little to no time to actually experience either home or play with their family and new presents. The better approach is to alternate holidays annually to avoid multiple holiday exchanges on a particular day. As well, because the exchanges are so stressful for children under normal circumstances, one can only imagine how stressed they are during the holidays.

Just because the other parent is a jerk does not mean you have to be. If another parent tries to engage during an exchange, a parent can and should totally ignore the attempt and complete the exchange in silence. The children will thank you. Also, parents have the right to modify their custody and can do so by submitting a signed stipulation (agreement) to the Court, which once signed by the Court will constitute a new Order.