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Don't let child custody problems zap your holiday spirit

Easter, Kwanzaa, Passover, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July and other holidays are typical components of many families' customs throughout the nation. There's something special about days set aside to celebrate a specific idea or event that brings families closer together and creates lasting, cherished memories. If you're thinking that used to be the case for you and your family until you and your former spouse chose to divorce, you are definitely not alone. Many parents find themselves entangled in contentious child custody battles surrounding their favorite holiday seasons.

Others who trod the path before you can offer creative ideas and resources to help you avoid holiday problems as you and your children move forward to a new, happy lifestyle. Most parents strongly desire to keep their children's best interests at heart. It's just that when parents disagree, this is often easier said than done.

Spontaneity may be the spice of life, but schedules can be helpful too

When you took your first steps in the divorce process, you likely assumed you and your children's other parent would compromise and cooperate where necessary to develop a solid parenting plan for the future. If you hit a roadblock where holidays are concerned, the following schedule ideas may help:

  • You can incorporate a joint custody holiday schedule into court orders.
  • You and your co-parent can discuss the issue with or without mediation.
  • A first logical step to creating a schedule is to list all holidays both of you celebrate throughout the year.
  • You can number your list in order of personal importance.
  • If you and your co-parent have certain holidays numbered exactly the same, you may have to negotiate a compromise. (If communication is typically a challenge between you, allowing a mediator to act on your behalf may help.)
  • Finally, you and your co-parent can create a finalized list that specifies which parents will celebrate which holidays with the children.

If you're able to come up with a plan outside a courtroom, the court will simply need to approve your proposal. If, on the other hand, you reach a stalemate and are unable to achieve an amicable solution to obstacles that arise, the court can make the decision for you. Once the court officially rules on a particular matter, it becomes legally enforceable.

Children love holidays, and they love their parents. Your divorce needn't bring an end to their holiday fun. Others in New York say their child custody problems became more easily negotiable when they turned to experienced family law attorneys for guidance.

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