Divorce is increasingly common in California and in other parts of the nation. Sharing child custody presents many challenges at any time of the year, but it can be especially difficult during the holidays. There are, however, ways for parents to make the holidays easier for themselves and their children.
It is a good idea for both parents to be flexible and understanding when it comes to visitation plans during the holidays. This is not a good time to seek revenge on an ex-spouse by withholding time with the children because this ultimately hurts the children most.
For parents who cannot spend the holidays with their kids, it is important to spend time with friends and other family members as they can be a vital source of emotional support. Parents can also create new traditions with the children to make this time of year special. The holidays should not be about trying to impress the children with expensive gifts but instead about spending time together.
Consulting a divorce attorney may be a good choice when the other parent will not be reasonable about visitation. To modify a previous order, a judge will look at whether circumstances have changed since the last order was entered. The judge will also consider how these changes may affect the best interests of the children. For example, if one parent has been arrested or is co-habituating with an abusive partner, these may be changed circumstances that could warrant a modification of the previous order.
If the parent is not abiding by the terms set out in the divorce decree or child custody order, he or she may be held in contempt of court. Contempt of court may be punishable by a fine, an award of costs and attorney fees or jail time. A previous order may be modified because of the non-compliance. The parent alleging that the other should be held in contempt has the burden of proving that the other parent willfully disobeyed court orders.