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Michigan Family Law Blog

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Overcoming Conflict Over Custody During the Holidays

Holidays can be difficult for parents and children when parents are no longer married or together. Children may feel torn between his or her parents. Parents may feel bitter and abandoned. The ideal solution is for parents to work out an arrangement that allows everyone to spend the holidays together. However, anger and hurt feelings can prevent parents from putting aside their differences to negotiate a mutually acceptable holiday custody arrangement. Often working with an experienced child custody lawyer can make a big difference.

Of course, courts can only do so much to assist families with custody issues during the holidays. Judges can order parenting time and settle custody issues, but parents really have the responsibility for making the holidays special for their children by overcoming custody issues during the holidays.

Tips for Dealing with Custody Challenges and Issues During The Holidays

Some ways that parents can overcome custody issues during the holidays include:

  • Revise your expectations. Unless you and your ex-partner can spend time together during the holidays for the benefit of your child, you need to revise your expectations for the holidays. A holiday does not need to be celebrated on a specific date. If you do not have your children on Christmas morning, it does not make your time with them on Christmas Eve or the day after Christmas any less special.
  • Create new traditions. You may not be able to continue all your old traditions now that your child will spend alternating holidays with the other parent. Therefore, create new holiday traditions that accommodate the new “normal” for your holiday celebrations.

  • Choose to forgive and forget. It can be very difficult to let go of bitterness and old slights. Instead of waiting for your ex-partner to forgive and forget, be the first one to extend forgiveness. You might be surprised how much easier it is to compromise when you forgive and forget past differences.

  • Plan early for the holidays. If possible, work with your child’s other parent to develop a parenting plan for the holidays as early as possible. By developing a holiday custody or visitation schedule early in the year, you and your ex-partner can make other holiday plans that do not interfere with the time you will spend with your child. Early planning can help you make the most of the time you spend with your child.

  • Do not compete with gifts. If possible, you and your child’s other parent should work together to plan gifts for your children. Using money and gifts to compete with your child’s other parent is not only expensive, but it can be detrimental for your children.

  • Try to include other family members. You may not enjoy spending time with your in-laws, but your child may be close to them. If possible, put aside your personal feelings to include extended family when it is in the best interest of your child.

Decide to Be Flexible

The goal is to make custody arrangements that satisfy everyone’s needed to spend time together during the holidays. To accomplish this goal, you may need to be flexible. However, if you are flexible, it can make custody issues less stressful for everyone. If your ex-partner will not work with you and custody issues cannot be resolved, you may need assistance from a family mediator or legal professional. Contact Michigan child custody attorney Cameron C. Goulding to discuss your child custody and parenting time situation.


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