What to do if your Ex Won’t Follow Custody Plan over the Holidays

6 Steps to Take when Your Ex won’t Obey Child Custody Rules over the Holidays

The holidays can be an emotional time for any family, but divorce tends to make things particularly difficult. Even if you and your ex ended on good terms, it’s not uncommon for the holiday season to cause tension where there normally isn’t any.

Otherwise reasonable parents often stray from their agreed upon parenting plans this time of year so they can get more time with their children. It is not okay, but it happens more often than people might expect. If you find that your ex is being unfair with time sharing over the holidays, follow this step-by-step guide on how to handle the situation.

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1.Stay calm

This is easier said than done, but it’s so important. Keep in mind that the more frustrated or upset you get at the situation, the more negatively impacted your children will be. Divorce is already difficult for everyone involved, but children generally have a harder time understanding what’s going on. They won’t understand your frustration, no matter how warranted.

Not only that, but retaliating before you fully understand the situation can backfire. You could accidentally end up making things more difficult for yourself in court if it comes to that. In order to keep things easy on your kids and yourself, it’s important to do your part to keep the peace between you and your ex, even if it’s not your fault.

2. Understand your parenting plan

On rare occasions, people sometimes think their ex is not following their child custody plan, when in fact they are the ones who have misunderstood it. Before you take any legal action, make sure you read, then re-read your parenting plan to make sure your ex is the one in the wrong. Once you’ve determined that they are in fact breaking the rules, it’s safe to take action.

3. Contact an attorney

Even if you and your ex are generally on good terms, it’s always a good idea to have a divorce attorney on hand to help you with the tough times. The holidays can be particularly difficult, especially if the divorce is still fresh. What a lot of people don’t understand is the fact that lawyers are good for more than just winning cases.

When you’re lost on how to handle the next steps in getting through the tough holiday season – possibly without your children – your divorce attorney will be there for you in ways others cannot. The best lawyers care about more than just winning cases. They will be there to support you emotionally too.

4. Follow your part of the plan

If your ex is choosing not to follow the rules, it is extremely important not to stoop to their level. The worst thing you could do at this point is to follow suit, because then you will have nothing against them from a legal standpoint. Keep your head high and be the bigger person. It will work in your favor when the courts look at evidence for who is a more reliable parent.

5. File a motion for child pick up

If you’ve read your parenting plan correctly, and your ex is wrongly keeping your children from you over the holidays, your divorce attorney may suggest filing an emergency child pick up order. These generally tend to be a last resort, as it can be a traumatic experience for young children who may not understand what’s going on. Child pick up orders are generally only granted if you can prove the child in question is in immediate danger. Talk to your attorney to decide if this is the right action to take for your current child custody situation.

6. Know that everything will be okay

Even if it seems like your ex will never compromise, understand that the best thing you can do for your children is put on a brave face. It’s okay to be upset and disappointed with your ex, but the best thing you can do is follow the plan your divorce lawyer has put in place. Staying calm and doing all you need to do to make sure things work out smoothly will serve you well in the long run.

If your ex is refusing to obey your child custody agreement over the holidays, contact the divorce attorneys at LaFrance Family Law.