My Spouse Wants the Kids for Christmas But This Isn’t Their Year
Holidays are a time for family and sharing in tradition. However, when divorce is involved, there can be additional, unwanted stress. The parents may have worked out a visitation schedule, but then the holidays come around, and both parents would like to see their children on Christmas.
When dealing with unscheduled visitations, it is always best to keep the children in mind. The courts will always do what is in the best interest of the child. So, if the child wants to split time between parents at Christmas, it could be best to do so. However, there are circumstances when this cannot be done or when a parent demands more time outside the visitation schedule. It is always best to understand the law in these situations and to know what can and cannot be done.
Deciding Holiday Visitation Schedules
Without evidence that visitation with the other parent would be harmful to the children, both parents are entitled to split holiday time with their children. Most Judges in Louisiana believe that children do best when both parents are stable and meaningfully involved in their children’s lives. Separated or divorced parents can choose to divide holidays themselves, or they can let a judge decide.
If a Judge orders holiday visitation, the parties will be subject to a standard holiday visitation schedule. The standard holiday calendar differs by state and even county.
In Louisiana, the standard holidays include Spring Break, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, school holidays such as Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day, and birthdays. The standard schedule set forth by the court will typically be an alternating schedule by year and holiday. Example: parent A gets Thanksgiving, and parent B gets Christmas this year, which would mean parent A gets Christmas next year and parent B gets Thanksgiving next year.
Typically, any change to this schedule should be worked out between the parties. However, there are times one party may ask the court to intervene, especially if one parent is being too aggressive about their holiday time.
What if it is My Ex’s Weekend but My Holiday Visitation Year?
Christmas day, according to the parenting or visitation schedule, may belong to one parent this year, but then it may coincide with the regular weekend schedule. So, which one takes precedence? This could be something that the parents can work out and come to an agreement. Though, the court will always say that the holiday schedule trumps the parenting schedule.
However, if for some reason it would be in the best interest of the children to go with one parent over the other, the court will then override any schedule and do what is best for the children. It is rare the court will intercede here, as most parents can work it out between themselves.
Keep in mind that the court will typically follow the holiday schedule, then the parents’ schedules, but will always put the interest of the children first and foremost.
Can My Ex Keep the Children at Christmas When it is Not Their Year?
A Parenting Schedule and holiday visitation plan safeguard each parent’s rights while also providing stability for children during divorce. When there is a custody dispute, the schedule provides the structure required to keep both parents aligned. If a parent knowingly violates the terms of a Parenting Plan or holiday visitation schedule, it is considered contempt of court. In the worst-case scenario, it could be considered parental kidnapping, which can result in federal charges.
A parent can never break the parenting schedule without first discussing it with the other parent. The parents whose year it is does have the right to say no. However, it is important to realize the impact this could have on the children. It is important to stick to the schedule, but it is equally, if not more important, to always do what is best for the children.
Violating a Parenting or Holiday Schedule
Individuals should first reach out to the appropriate authorities if a violation does occur, which may include law enforcement, especially if the child is missing or the other parent has no intention of returning the child. If such situations arise, it is critical that individuals do not attempt to take matters into their own hands.
Furthermore, once a violation has been identified, it is advisable for the individual to notify the court as soon as possible. In this manner, the individual can avoid potentially engaging in actions that are also illegal. A violation of a child custody or visitation court order can have serious ramifications. This infarction may result in criminal penalties, fines, or even jail time.
Avoiding Holiday Visitation Disputes
Though child custody or visitation dispute violations can be serious, there are approaches an individual can take to avoid it. Make certain that all agreements related to custody or visitation are approved by the court, which makes both parties legally bound to the schedule. In some cases, simply having a legally binding order prevents violations and disagreements.
Furthermore, if there is a disagreement or dispute about custody and visitation terms, a parent or guardian should seek a modification of the original court order. This may help to avoid a situation in which one or both parents try to take matters into their own hands and create a new arrangement. Any desired changes must be approved by the court before they can be implemented by the parents.
A parent attempting to make a change to a parenting or visitation schedule needs to file a proposed order with the court detailing the changes. The other party can object to this with good reason.
Hiring a Child Custody Attorney
Any custody or visitation concerns or questions can always be answered by an experienced family law or child custody attorney. If your spouse is challenging an existing visitation schedule and they will not relent, it may be best to seek legal advice before filing anything with the court. Please seek a qualified child custody attorney in Louisiana by calling at 504-780-8232 or contact us online.