If you’re a parent who has decided to file a divorce petition in North Carolina, you’ll want to make sure that you receive a fair settlement and that your children’s best interests are a central focus of the proceedings. Children are better able to cope with divorce if their parents work together as a team regarding their daily care and financial needs. With the 2023 holiday season just getting underway, you’ll also want to ensure that your child custody agreement is holiday-proof.
This means incorporating details regarding the holidays to avoid child custody disputes. With thoughtful planning and cooperation between you and your ex, there’s no reason your children cannot continue to enjoy their favorite traditions and holiday customs after your divorce. Without a plan (which is preferably in writing), there’s too much room for confusion and disagreements, which can put a damper on holiday festivities.
Work the holidays into your regular child custody plan
The best way to avoid child custody disputes during the holidays is to make special occasions (i.e., birthdays, Christmas, Fourth of July, etc.) part of your initial custody plan. This way, everyone knows ahead of time what to expect, which makes it less likely for arguments to flare when a special date is approaching. Instead of haggling at the eleventh hour over where your kids will spend this day or the other, everyone will have a calendar with specific dates noted throughout the year.
It’s also wise to try to be flexible, in case unexpected issues arise that necessitate a change in your agreed-upon plan, such as a parent’s work schedule changing or someone getting ill. If you agree ahead of time to trade holidays if unforeseen issues cause a snag in the original plan, your kids will still get to enjoy their special day, and they will also know that their parents are willing to set their differences aside and help each other for their children’s sake.
Child custody is not always smooth sailing
If your ex is uncooperative, or, worse yet, if he or she disregards the terms of agreement in your child custody plan, you may need to seek additional support to resolve the issue. Certain issues are legal matters. For example, perhaps your ex is not showing up for scheduled visits with the kids, not paying child support as ordered by the court or is impeding your relationship with your children.
These are all legal issues that may require a North Carolina family court judge’s intervention to resolve. The court is always available to assist in child custody matters, even during the holidays.