With Mother’s Day having recently passed and Father’s Day fast approaching, separated and divorced couples face unique issues regarding child custody on these days. Often, these “minor” holidays are lost in the shuffle when a couple anticipates which parent will have custody of the child or children on major holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving. It seems obvious though that Mother should have custody on Mother’s Day and Father should have custody on Father’s Day. However, what happens in a situation where Father’s Day falls during Mother’s custodial weekend or vice versa?
Most custody orders drafted by the Court anticipate situations such as this and dictate that if there is any conflict between the holiday schedule and the normal custody schedule, the holiday schedule is controlling. It is important to remember that the Court’s goal is to establish a custody order that is in the best interest of the child. In almost every case, the child’s best interests are served by spending time with the parent that is celebrating a holiday.
If, however, you do not yet have a formal custody order either because you are very early in the custody process or because you and your former spouse have decided to make custody arrangements on your own, it is important to keep the “best interests” principle in mind. By being flexible, you can avoid having to bring the issue before a judge or needing a custody order at all. Conversely, if your former spouse is being unreasonable with respect to accommodating sensible custody requests, it may be time to involve an attorney. As undesirable as it may be to take the issue to court, having a skilled family law attorney negotiate and obtain a formal, written custody order may resolve future conflicts. If you wish to obtain a custody order, please contact Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates.