During the holiday season, we know that time with your kids is precious. However, this doesn’t mean that you can violate a child custody order. As your family prepares for the holiday season, make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities.
Below, The Law Office of A. Sam Jubran, P.A. explains the basics of child custody holiday schedule planning, and how to ensure that you see your kids over the holidays.
Understand Your Child Custody Rights
Spending time with your child over the holidays is a top priority for most parents. However, when a relationship ends, you might find it difficult to split that time — especially on prime holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. At The Law Office of A. Sam Jubran, P.A., we encourage all of our clients to consider holiday schedules when they create a parenting plan. Discussing these issues in advance can help you and your ex co-parent and can prevent hard feelings.
Most holiday visitation schedules are set up in one of a few ways:
- Every other year: you and your ex alternate holidays from year to year. For example, one year you might get to spend Thanksgiving with your child, the next you’re scheduled for Christmas
- Split days: if you and your ex live close to each other, you might agree to split a holiday in half. For example, you might get Christmas morning and your ex gets Christmas night
- Fixed schedule: you and your ex agree to a set schedule every year, giving up certain holidays.
However, situations might arise where your ex wants more time and tries to pressure you into changing the custody plan — or even decides to violate the terms of the custody order without your consent.
Before you agree to their plan, review your child custody order. If the order grants you visitation on a specific holiday, it’s within your rights to decline their request. And if you anticipate a problem this holiday season, consult a child custody lawyer in advance. We can help you build a strategy that protects your parenting time.
Top Tips for Child Custody Holiday Schedule Planning
Emotions sometimes run high over the holiday season. As you start making plans, take these steps to ensure your child has a happy and safe holiday season.
- Carefully read your child custody order and understand its holiday schedule. Do your best to comply with how you agreed to divide time up between you and your ex.
- If you plan on taking your child out of the state of Florida or out of the country over the holidays, make sure your child custody order permits this. If you need the court’s permission, contact your family law attorney well in advance.
- Communicate with your ex. Delays happen — especially when you have an overtired child who has been eating cake at their grandma’s all afternoon. If you’re running late for a drop-off, let your ex know.
- Don’t use the holidays as an excuse to bad mouth your ex. It’s in your child’s best interest for you and your ex are polite and respect each other’s role as a parent. Plus, poisoning your child’s relationship with your ex could be grounds to change your custody order.
- If you think your ex is violating your child custody order, call your attorney immediately. If you think there’s an imminent threat to your child’s safety, call the police.
It’s also important to remember that unless your ex agrees to a change in the holiday schedule, you’ll be in contempt of court if you intentionally violate it. Generally speaking, it’s difficult to modify a child custody order unless there has been a material change in your family’s circumstances. For example, a court might agree to modify your holiday schedule if you’ve moved out-of-state or your child’s needs have changed as they’ve grown.
If you need help modifying a child custody order or have a question about custody order enforcement, consult with your attorney right away. It takes time to modify a child custody order. If you wait until the last minute, you might be out of luck.
Get Answers to Your Custody Holiday Schedule Questions
At The Law Office of A. Sam Jubran, P.A., our top priority is our clients’ children and their welfare. If you’d like to learn more about our services, contact us today for a no-risk evaluation.