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Beware of Family Law Disputes During the Holidays

Holiday stress is often compounded by arguments over who gets the children. Avoid wrecking the season and try to solve disagreements with the child's best interest in mind.

Emotions run especially high this time of the year for parents who may be in the middle of custody or visitation disputes. Each December the phone starts ringing at all hours with pleas for help from parents who feel they are being treated unfairly on their allotted visitation time.

Some are upset because the other parent is acting inappropriately with a new romantic partner. With alcohol often flowing during the holiday season, situations can become emotionally charged at lightening speed and often lead to physical brawls.

Issues that may have been overlooked before can now become unforgivable offenses requiring immediate legal action.

“Try focusing on what you can control and enjoy for now, rather than letting the other person push your buttons and ruin the holidays.”

Dockets Are Filled, and Judges Are Away

It is important for family law clients to know that from Thanksgiving through the New Year, court dockets are always packed. Judges and their staffs are on vacation. Attorneys are also likely to be stressed, overwhelmed and unable to help as much as they would like. Unfortunately, if a significant event happens during the holidays—such as a parent not returning a child or one parent acting violently in front of a child—not much can be done.

In these situations, a compassionate lawyer often plays the role of therapist by listening intently and trying to give the best possible advice on custody or visitation concerns. Aside from writing a scathing letter to the other side, our hands are tied until the New Year.

In Case of an Emergency

If an actual emergency occurs, such as a parent refusing to return a child or using drugs in front of a child, emergency measures can be taken. Judges are on standby for those type situations. They can issue orders for the sheriff to remove a child from the custody of an intoxicated or drugged parent who may be placing the child in danger. Warrants can also be issued for the return of a missing child.

Control What You Can

You and your child can enjoy a much nicer Christmas if you realize that the holidays are extra chaotic in family court. Try focusing on what you can control and enjoy for now, rather than letting the other person push your buttons and ruin the holidays.

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