Top Five Things Not To Do During The Holidays If You Are Recently Divorced
The holidays can prove to be an especially stressful time of year. Individuals who have recently gone through a divorce may feel this stress more than others. It is important not to let the heightened emotions felt during this time of year lead to decisions one might regret. Below are five tips on what not to do to help recently divorced individuals navigate the holiday season:
1. Do not stray from your custody order unless you are in agreement with your ex and that agreement is in writing.
Your orders are enforceable by a court and you can be held in contempt of court. If you do not have an agreement with the other side to change the schedule. you must abide by the orders. If you do have an agreement to change the schedule make sure it is in writing.
2. Do not belittle the children’s experience with the other parent during the holiday.
Children love both parents and they should have a healthy relationship with both of their parents. Do not grill the children when they come home or complain about the new significant other in your ex’s life.
3. Do not intentionally hide or destroy gifts that they may receive from the other parents’ family.
Don’t give gifts to your children that you know will not be permitted in the other parent’s home. The best thing to do is to have a discussion about with your ex about what is appropriate. It is in the best interest of the children that the rules in each house are similar. If that cannot be done then it is in the best interest that you keep those items at your house for when the children are with you.
4. Do not engage in a gift-giving competition to win over the children’s affections.
The holidays should not be an effort to outdo the other parent and try to buy your child’s affections. Most children are confused but then start to realize that they get “two sets” of presents. If they see you manipulating them, you should expect they will try to do the same. Remember children are sponges with the ability to perceive things that are not audibly spoken but rather are inferred.
5. Do not make an effort to make sure the children return to the other parent’s house with the items they came with.
Nothing irritates the other side more when you do not send the kids back with the things the other parent sent them with. It may not be intentional but for your children’s sake, make a conscious effort to return items that are expected to be returned. If you do not, the child may hear it and that puts them in the middle of an awkward situation that may be beyond their emotional capacity.
Keeping these 5 items in mind during the holidays can help you avoid adding extra stress to your life. Click the following link to learn more about our family law resources and practice areas. The five items outlined in this article all tie into what is known as the Children’s Bill of Rights. You can review this important bill below which provides a framework for protecting the best interests and healthy development of children. When dealing with divorce and custody legal issues it is always of paramount importance to remember the best interests of your children.
Children’s Bill of Rights:
- Neither parent shall deny the child reasonable use of the telephone to place and receive calls with the other parent and relatives.
- Neither parent shall speak or write derogatory remarks about the other parent to the child, or engage in abusive, coarse or foul language, which can be overheard by the child whether the language involves the other parent.
- Neither parent shall permit the children to overhear arguments, negotiations, or other substantive discussions about legal or business dealings between the parents.
- Neither parent shall physically or psychologically attempt to pressure or attempt to influence the children concerning the personal opinion or position of the child concerning legal proceedings between the parents.
- Each parent will permit the child to display photographs of the other parent or both parents in the child’s room.
- Neither parent shall communicate moral judgments about the other parent to the child concerning the other parent’s choice of values, lifestyle, choice of friends, successes or failures in life (career, financial, relational), or residential choice.
- The parents will acknowledge to the child that the child has two homes although the child may spend more time at one home than the other.
- The parents shall cooperate to the greatest extent practicable in sharing time with the child.
- Each parent will permit the child to retain and allow easy access to, correspondence, greeting cards, and other written materials received from the other parent.
- Each parent will respect the physical integrity of items possessed by the child which depict the other parent or remind the child of the other parent.
- Neither parent will trivialize, or deny the existence of the other parent to the child.
- Neither parent will interrogate the child about the other parent nor will either parent discourage comments by the child about the other parent.
- Neither parent will intercept, “lose”, derail, “forget” or otherwise interfere with communications to the child from the other parent.
- Neither parent will refuse to acknowledge that the child can have or should have good experiences with the other parent.
- Neither parent will directly or indirectly attack or criticize to the child the extended family of the other parent, the other parent’s career, the living and travel arrangements of the other parent, or lawful activities of the other parent or associates of the other parent.
- Neither parent will use the child as a “middleman” by using the child to communicate with the other parent on inappropriate topics.
- Neither parent will undermine the other parent in the eyes of the child by engaging in the “circumstantial syndrome” which is done by manipulating, changing, or rearranging facts.
- Neither parent will create for, or exaggerate to, the child differences between the parents.
- Neither parent will say and do things with an eye to gaining the child as an “ally” against the other parent.
- Neither parent will encourage or instruct the child to be disobedient to the other parent, stepparents, or relatives.
- Neither parent will reward the child to act negatively toward the other parent.
- Neither parent will try to make the child believe he or she loves the child more than the other parent, by, for example, saying that he or she loves the child more than the other parent or over-informing the child on adult topics, or overindulging the child.
- Neither parent will discuss child support issues with the child.
- Neither parent will engage in judgmental, opinionated or negative commentary, physical inspections or interrogations once the child arrives from his/her other home.
- Neither parent will “rewrite” or “re-script” facts which the child originally knows to be different.
- Neither parent will punish the child physically or threaten such punishment in order to influence the child to adopt the parent’s negative program, if any, against the other parent.
- Neither parent will permit the child to be transported by a person who is intoxicated due to consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs.
- Neither parent will smoke tobacco materials inside structures or vehicles occupied at the time by the child.
- Each parent will permit the child to carry gifts, toys, clothing, and other items belonging to the child with him or her to the residence of the other parent or relatives or permit the child to take gifts, toys, clothing, and other items belonging to the child back to the residence of the other parent, as the case may be, to facilitate the child having with him or her objects, important to the child. The gifts, toys, clothing, and other items belonging to the child referred to here mean items that are reasonably transportable and do not include pets (which the parents agree are impractical to move about).
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