Child custody issues are often a source of stress and contention for Massachusetts parents. These issues can be magnified during the holiday season, as families make plans for festivities and traveling. Despite the stress that comes with the holidays, there are several things parents can do to help ease tensions over child custody arrangements.
It is generally advisable to review child custody orders well ahead of the holidays. Holidays are often switched each year, so it is important to review a custody order prior to making plans. Custody orders may even include specificities as to drop-off times and locations. If a custody order is not clear as to the holiday arrangement, communication with the child's other parent is essential. Even communication over electronic means, such as e-mail, can ensure there is no confusion over custody on certain days and times.
In situations where there is no custody order in place, parents are encouraged to work with each other to reach an agreement. If an agreement simply cannot be made, parents can also attempt to have a judge reach a resolution. However, it is unlikely a custody battle will make it before a judge last minute. In these cases, mediation can be helpful.
Parents should also communicate the holiday custody arrangement with their children. Although this depends on age, children benefit from knowing their holiday schedule and can set their expectations accordingly. Keeping in mind the importance of spending time with children, despite the day, can also be helpful. Starting new traditions can be a fun way to get both children and parents used to a custody arrangement. Finally, leaving children out of any custody disputes is always a good idea - especially during the holiday season. Massachusetts parents that need help enforcing a custody order or otherwise reaching a custody arrangement can contact a Worchester Family Law Attorney. Divorce and Child Custody can be especially difficult during the holiday season, so it is important for families to protect their rights.
Source: The Mercury, "Child custody and the holidays: Do's and Dont's," Andrew D. Taylor, Nov. 27, 2013