On behalf of Morna Challoner of Challoner Law posted in Child Custody & Child Support on Sunday, November 17, 2019.
The holidays are fast approaching, and that has many divorced parents in California dealing with children who may not be happy with their holiday plans. Custody arrangements can be a big issue this time of year. Children may not be satisfied with whom they have to spend certain days and may request a temporary change to the custody schedule. Should parents bend custody arrangements to make their kids happy for the holidays?
First and foremost, no one can tell parents what the best thing is for their family. This, when it comes down to it, is a personal decision. However, it is one that does deserve some serious thought.
Reasons to say yes
There are a few reasons why changing up holiday custody plans may be appropriate. First, parental plans may change. Maybe it is your turn to have the children this year, but work or other obligations have made it impossible for you to get the time off you need. It happens, and it is okay to be flexible when it does as long as your ex is also willing to be flexible.
Second, maybe your child is really struggling to adjust to your new family dynamic, and a temporary change would benefit them. That, too, happens, particularly the first holiday season during or following a divorce. You know your kids, and you know what is best for them.
Reasons to say no
If you allow your child to dictate when he or she will be with either parent, that gives him or her a lot of power. He or she will learn that the schedule can be adjusted whenever he or she wants. This may result in:
- One parent feeling alienated
- The inability to see if the ordered plan actually works
- Feelings of resentment
Custody schedules are in place for a reason. It is easier to move forward when there is some structure to parenting time. Compassion and understanding are important, but boundaries are important as well. Sometimes temporary changes are good and necessary, but sometimes it is better to set boundaries so everyone can adjust to the situation.
Want an official custody change instead?
If you are at a point where you think an official custody change is appropriate for your family, it is okay to file a custody adjustment request. You have to have a good reason for doing so, particularly if this is something with which your ex disagree. With assistance, you can go through all the motions in order to fight for a custody plan you believe is best, not just for the holidays but all year round.