Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas — the perfect trifecta of holidays to create a lot of parental stress among parents who are already feeling the stress of separation or divorce.
What happens when one of the two parents needs to make a slight change in the custody schedule in order to accommodate Grandma’s trip in from Florida or Aunt Nancy’s annual holiday party for all the nieces and nephews?
1. Consider working it out, if at all possible. This is one of those situations where — if you’re the custodial parent — accommodating your ex-spouse now could pay off later when you’re the one needing the favor.
2. Write up an informal agreement. While you probably don’t want to go to court — and may not even be able to get onto the schedule in time — you also don’t want to make a change that isn’t in writing. For everyone’s protection, make sure that you write up and sign an agreement:
- Specify exactly when the change in the usual arrangement is taking place.
- Specify who is going to have custody of the kids, where they are going, for what purpose and when they will return.
- If necessary, specify any other “return modification” that you’ve negotiated at that time — even if it is sometimes in the future, like the family 4th of July picnic that you want the kids to attend even though it’s the other spouse’s custody weekend.
3. If you aren’t on the best terms with your ex, it may be possible to put your request through your attorney. He or she may contact your spouse’s attorney to see if the favor can be worked out informally or try to get a court date — but the sooner you act, the better. The court docket does generally fill up early with these kinds of issues.
It can be difficult to navigate the world of family law all alone — which makes it wise to consult an attorney on issues related to child support and custody before you act. For more information on our firm’s approach to the issue, please visit our webpage on the topic.