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Attorneys Vic Hill and Brad MacDonald

Holidays, Courts, Custody and Visitation Concerns

Given the centrality of child custody and visitation considerations in many divorce proceedings, it is probably not surprising for a family log blog to periodically address issues and timely stories relating to these concerns. We note, for example, the several blog posts we have previously devoted to various aspects of visitation, namely, our August 3 post on parenting plans; a September 7 article on visitation rights accorded by a court via online video conferencing; and, most recently, an October 28 post reporting on the child custody/visitation hearing involving professional basketball player Dwyane Wade and his wife.

That latter post points to the acrimony that can sometimes attach to visitation matters. Parents, after all, can be jealous guardians of the time they spend – and seek to spend – with their children.

A recent news article chronicles how that is especially so during the holiday season, a time during which sentiment and emotion can run especially high for once-united families that are now separated. When extended families are thrown into the mix, things can get complicated and sometimes a bit frayed concerning who is going where, when and for how long.

Parties centrally involved in that complexity need to note, says the writer, that courts are not maximally efficient and responsive to visitation adjustments and emergency requests during an abbreviated time of year when resources are short and most people are preoccupied elsewhere.

If an “emergency” motion is of merit, a court will of course hear it, but it is likely to cost a premium. If a parenting plan and visitation agreement is in place, a judge is apt to simply go with it in lieu of suddenly disrupting it on short notice right before Christmas. That is, the best interests of any children involved will probably militate against a court signing off on a radical and sudden scheduling adjustment that wasn’t firmly on everyone’s radar.

The above speaks to the importance of parties working in advance to establish a sound and sensible parenting plan that takes into account holidays and other busy times. An experienced family law attorney can answer questions concerning child custody and visitation matters.

Related Resource: www.huffingtonpost.comWhen the Vows Break: ‘Tis the Season for Long Lines in Divorce Court” November 30, 2010