23 Dec Who Gets to Spend Christmas With the Kids?
Every divorce or separation is different. Spouses or partners that share a lot of assets and dependent kids have the toughest time sorting out an acceptable way of dividing the assets and care for the kids after separation. Some do this all by themselves. Others need help from the court and family law attorneys. It is never entirely satisfactory, especially for the kids. Important family times like Christmas can introduce another dimension.
Most couples with kids eventually get an arrangement worked out so that the kids’ ‘best interests’ are looked after. Ether one parent takes on most of the day to day care, with or without spousal support from the other parent, or the arrangement is more equitable and the kids get to spend more or less equal time with each parent.
Vacations, birthdays and Christmas are special times which can become difficult to deal with, unless the two parents have developed a businesslike way of communicating and dealing with shared children. Normal parenting time and visitation rights may need to be amended to allow each parent to have special time with their kids.
If sensible communication and cooperation have broken down, which can easily happen after divorce or separation, it may be necessary to pre-plan vacation parenting rights well in advance to avoid any acrimonious arguments over who gets to spend time with the kids. The younger the kids, the worse it could be to have a stand up argument over who gets to do what in front of them.
Like any other aspect of dealing with divorce and separation, it is best to work out an agreement that, even if it is not perfect, works in the best interests of the kids. This might mean talking to respective family law attorneys and taking the plan to the family law court for a final decision. Even if two parents go it alone and work out an agreement about what to do when it comes to vacation days, it may still be best to have the mutual agreement written down and verified by an attorney. This then allows for legal action to be taken if one or the other parent decides to take matters in other own hands, i.e. decides to unilaterally break the agreement.
What happens when one of the parents lives far away from where the kids normally live with the other parent?
After parents finally separate for good, their lives are not always going to stay exactly the same as they were beforehand. One or both parents may remarry or at least become involved in a new relationship. They may move for a new job or opportunity elsewhere. Generally, if one or the other parent does intend moving far away (e.g. more than 100 miles away), it is best to look at the parenting arrangement well before the move and adjust it so that parenting rights are retained, even if the relative time spent with the kids is going to have to change to fit the new location.
As with other aspects of divorce or separation, there is no one single arrangement that can fit all situations. It would probably not be practical for the kids to spend equal periods of living with each parent, even if they had used that arrangement satisfactorily when both parents were living closer to each other. An arrangement that was agreed as ‘in the best interests of the kids’ would take into consideration schooling, friends and other prior arrangements as well as parenting rights. Some sort of compromise would be necessary so if the parent who moved would not have provided the main home beforehand then there may be an opportunity to look after the kids in one of their school vacations, rather than at weekends because it is more practical that way.
Parenting is rarely problem free at the best of times, even if the parents live together amicably. Divorce or separation makes everything more difficult. If there is no chance of communicating with your spouse or partner, it is best to talk to a family law attorney before taking the law into your own hands and taking the kids for Christmas without consulting your former partner. Whatever the circumstances of your grievances, you can get professional legal help from the Law Office of Damian Nolan in Orange County. Call Damian Nolan at 562-634-1115.