Getting divorced is no small matter and often not an easy task at that. Hopefully, your time in a Florida courtroom was minimal and your children have been faring as well as can be expected. Now that the holidays are fast approaching, you may want to think about possible child custody issues that could arise and develop a plan of action ahead of time to avert trouble. A key to a successful problem resolution in such matters is often knowing what your rights are and how to protect them.
Before things get too out of hand, you may be able to take certain steps to help you keep stress levels to a minimum during the holidays. If you and your former spouse are on friendly speaking terms, a mere phone call or in-person discussion may be all that's needed to overcome a particular child custody obstacle. However, serious disputes can turn holidays from joyful to disastrous quite quickly; therefore, it's best to know how to avoid such problems.
Developing a holiday child custody plan
Keeping the following tips in mind may help you set the tone for happy post-divorce holidays with your children:
- Get it all in writing: You may think all it takes is a verbal agreement to determine what your children's schedule will be during the holidays. However, this often leads to legal problems for those who are divorced. If you have specific plans on specific dates, get it all in writing.
- Adhere to court orders: If you have an existing court order, you can't change it without the court's permission. If it says your spouse gets the kids for Thanksgiving but you want them to be with you while you travel to the beach, you need to make sure your spouse is okay with that and that the court approves it.
- Share the holidays: You are likely already used to doing things for your children's sakes. If you are okay with it, you and your former spouse might consider sharing the holidays so your children can spend time with both of you.
- Rotate shifts: If the previous idea gives you a stomach ache just thinking about it, an alternative might be to split the hours of the day in half, with you spending holiday time with your kids for one part of the day and them going to their other parent's for the rest of the time.
There is no right or wrong way or set rules about which parent spends which holidays with the kids after divorce. It's up to you. The key is to negotiate an agreeable and fair arrangement and to make sure the court approves.
If you need support facing a particular problem, you can seek assistance as many other Florida parents do by getting in touch with an experienced family law attorney.