Tag Archives: Custody

Children of Divorce During the Holidays

Divorce affects children in many ways. The feelings of loss that accompany a divorce are Child with divorced parentsheightened around the holidays, when kids are forced to adjust to life with only one parent at a time. With the holiday season approaching, there’s potential for stress and conflict over visitation schedules, but it is important that you put your children first when making holiday arrangements.

First of all, make sure you and your ex-spouse are clear on the holiday visitation that was determined in your divorce decree. You may have one of the following situations:

Alternating holidays. Each parent is assigned “even” or “odd” years to spend certain holidays with their children.

Splitting each holiday. If parents live near each other, children might spend part of the day at mom’s house and the other part with dad.

Both parents spend the holiday together with their child. This works best if both parents are amiable with each other.

Beyond the Holiday Custody Arrangement

No matter what schedule you must follow, there are steps you can take as parents to ensure that the holidays go as smoothly as possible for you and your children.

Accept your parenting plan and make the best of it. Focus on the time you are spending with your children, rather than the time you won’t be spending together. Be flexible about when and how you will celebrate. Your family won’t be able to do things the way they used to, but be creative and make new traditions with your children. Trying to divide time between mom and dad on every holiday can be chaotic for kids, so come up with a plan that works and stick to it so that children have a sense of stability and know what to look forward to.

What’s important is what’s best for your children, so keep your own emotions in check. Make sure your children can enjoy the holidays without feeling “caught in the middle.” Never place your child in the position of having to choose between parents. Rather, you and the other parent should work out holiday schedules in a way that puts no pressure on your children.

When you and your children are celebrating together, make it a “conflict-free zone.” Don’t talk about the other parent, and avoid negativity and bad vibes. Don’t try to “one-up” the other parent by making gift-giving a competition. Conflict between parents makes children dread the holidays, but this time of year doesn’t have to be stressful if both parents can put the needs of their children first.

Written by Autumn Simpson

Autumn is a student at Texas Christian University’s Honors College currently studying Pre-Law.Autumn Simpson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Family Courts Should Not Order Equal Periods of Child Possession

As the old saying goes, “be careful for what you ask for.”

I’ve spent years complaining that our family court judges are out of touch with modern family life in their refusal to order equal periods of possession in child custody cases.  The rule at the courthouse has always been that no judge would order a 50-50 possession schedule on temporary order.  Instead, one parent was going to get the “primary” designation and the other was going to pay support.

How things change.

tug of warIn the past month, I’ve seen three family court judges order equal parenting time after a contested temporary orders hearing and, rumor has it, such rulings are becoming more common all the time.

Should we be happy?  Is this the age of judicial enlightenment we’ve all been waiting for?  One where everybody wins and children reap the benefits of living in two different but equally loving homes?

I think not.

At the courthouse, playing the equal possession card is simply Version 2.0 of the same game of spin, distortion and manipulation we’ve played for years.  Yes, there are millions of divorced parents, equally sharing parenting time and raising happy and emotionally healthy children.  However, the large majority of these parents figured it out on their own and agreed to the terms of their parenting plan outside court.

Divorce clients who end up at the courthouse do not have things figured out.  Instead, they are coming to court to get their way; to win; to punish; and to taunt.  They don’t, or won’t, communicate with one another.  Most disturbing, is that these parents simply do not respect the other person as being a competent parent.

Court-ordered equal parenting time puts children in a world of equal and opposite forces where resentment for the other parent is palpable.  As I say, it’s like the children live in America one week and China the next.  It is sad irony when family court judges order week-on, week-off possession and, in the same breath, order the parents to limit communications with the other to postings on a web-based portal.

It’s time for our court’s to stop, look and listen to what divorce and custody litigants are saying in court and doing to one another when nobody is looking.  True co-parenting is so much more than equalizing days of possession.  When parents are so mired in conflict that they are willing to advance their agenda by diminishing and demeaning the other in court, an award of equal parenting time will prolong, rather than eliminate, conflict.

… And it’s not in the best interest of the children.

Greg Housewirth,