Child custody disputes during the holiday season

During the holiday season, we frequently need to remind Texas parents that the primary purpose behind all child custody considerations is to do what is in the best interests of the child.  However, the holiday season can be particularly stressful and can also result in conflict.  

Such conflict can often be easily avoided in many instances by taking particular actions and avoiding others.  If for nothing else, parents should make it easy on the children.

For example, it is always a good idea to take a look at the child custody order to make certain that all arrangements are in compliance.  It's also good to communicate with the other parent concerning your intentions in the event there is some sort of misunderstanding.  This is especially important if the order is ambiguous or unclear concerning holiday visitation times.

It's also good to communicate with one's children concerning visitation plans.  Too often parents wait until the last moment to do this.  Changes to visitation plans may come as an unpleasant surprise to them.

Parents do need to not worry over small matters when it comes to having children over the holidays.  The important thing is to spend time with the children.  However, that time does not necessarily have to be on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.  Flexibility is always important.

Finally, perhaps one of the biggest mistakes parents can make is to involve the children in the middle of child custody disputes.  It's up to parents to be the grown-up parties in child custody matters.

As attorneys, we can provide client representation and also sometimes mitigate disputes.  However, it's up to the parents ultimately to make certain the child's needs are met.

Source:, "Child custody and the holidays: Do's and Don'ts," Andrew D. Taylor, Nov. 27, 2013

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