Divorcing couples typically struggle the most with custody issues. Neither parent wants to cede their time with the kids to their ex-spouse. Yet, children thrive best when they have ready access to both parents.
That does not necessarily have to work out to an even 50-50 split of custody time. Indeed, work and school schedules may preclude that type of arrangement between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse. But it does mean that the two of you need to reach accord on the custody and visitation schedule for your kids.
While it may only be mid-September, the holidays are indeed looming. Now is the time to start hashing out a reasonable holiday visitation schedule that allows both parents to spend time with the kids and does not result in the children spending the holidays in transit from one parent’s home to the other.
Here is where alternative dispute resolution can be more productive than leaving the custody and visitation arrangements up to the court. There, you are subject to the preference of a judge who does not always know what is best for you or your family.
Judges try to be fair and always make decisions based on a child’s best interests. But they don’t know that Thanksgiving at the kids’ grandparents is a sprawling affair with all of the cousins competing in a post-prandial football game. The judge also has no way to know how much the kids love staying up for midnight Mass with your in-laws before falling asleep waiting for Santa.
But you and your child’s other parent know these things and can include all their favorite traditions in your parenting plan. The collaborative law process can move the two of you ever closer to your goals.
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