Handling Parental Duties During the Holidays Following a Divorce

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “Can any attorney help me with my family law needs in North Carolina?”


The holidays are meant to be a happy time, filled with family and friends. However, parents that have recently divorced might be struggling to figure out how to handle their parental duties and still provide the loving, happy, and special environment that their children are accustomed to during the holidays. Even with the best intentions, though, divorced parents can find it difficult to put aside their personal feelings. The holidays might bring about more trips and “exchanges” of children between the parents, leading to higher tensions and more conflict. The best way for parents to keep the holiday special for their children is to put a plan in place to help them navigate this time and stay organized.


christmas-Child-custody-Charlotte-Mecklenburg-Monroe-Mooresville-Domestic-Attorney-300x200Newly Divorced Parents


Parents that are facing their first holiday season as divorced individuals might struggle more than those who have been divorced for a number of years and have already had their “first.” There are many reasons that newly divorced parents have more issues. One such reason is that there may still be underlying issues with a child custody agreement that leaves one or both spouses with a sour taste in their mouths. Parents in this situation need to adjust their attention on their children. Yes, this is a difficult time for everyone involved, but the priority should be the children having a special holiday season without feeling too much tension between their parents. Talk about issues with friends or family members, or even a therapist, to ensure that your own well-being is being taken care of, even with the priority being children.


Develop a Plan


Both newly divorced parents and those who have been divorced for years need to have a plan in place to handle the holiday season. Listing out who will have the children on each day will help each party know what is expected of them. Of course, there is always the possibility of something unexpected happening, but at that point communicating the changes that need to be made can alleviate further issues. In addition to knowing the days the children need to be exchanged, be clear about the time, location, and any other detail that needs to be addressed. Holidays are a time when children have school off. As such, it is important to think about this additional time and then communicate with the other parent to determine how to handle it. Finally, parents should encourage their children to spend time with their other parent, regardless of their own personal feelings. Unless there is any danger in the children spending time with the other parent, there should probably be no reason to withhold the children or try to prevent the other parent from seeing them. In fact, preventing a parent from seeing their children could result in charges.


If you need help developing a plan with your ex-spouse during the holidays, or with ensuring that your rights to see your children are followed, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are here to help. We know that this can be a difficult time, but want to make it as stress-free as possible for you. Contact us today for a consultation. If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter and need the help of experienced family-law attorneys in or around Charlotte, Lake Norman, or our new office in Monroe (by appointment only until 2019), please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.







The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.







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