Friday, December 13, 2013

Enjoy the Holiday Season . . . and Visitation Battles

It's the holiday season.  Generally, this should mean everyone is joyous and happy and looking forward to the good cheer the holidays will bring.  Unfortunately, however, it also often means visitation battles between ex-spouses over who is going to see the kids when and on what holidays.  Despite what a court order or settlement agreement may provide, disputes over visitation frequently arise during the holiday season.  Disagreements may erupt over the language in an agreement, verbal agreements between the parties or whether a holiday visitation schedule trumps the regular access and visitation schedule.  Parents may not agree as to when a holiday schedule starts or one may simply decide that they are going to keep the kids for the holidays, despite what has been ordered or previously agreed to.

A few points to parents during the holidays from a veteran of custody battles between parents: 

  1. Abide by the agreement or order that has been entered in your case.  Your failure to do so may have negative consequences in the future.  Judges don't typically like parties who don't follow set schedules during the holidays and your decision to not follow the schedule may affect your access or visitation in the future.
  2. Don't plan on getting in front of a Judge before the holidays if a dispute arises.  Holiday visitation disputes are seldom considered an "emergency" matter warranting immediate attention by Maryland Judges.
  3. Think of your children and the impact your decision will have on them before you decide not to follow a court-ordered or agreed upon schedule.  Parental discord and turmoil over access and visitation is never a positive for them, especially during the holidays.  If you don't like the schedule, seek to change it for next year.
If you have any questions regarding this post, or if any issues arise over the holidays season, please feel free to contact our offices.

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