With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, you and your ex-spouse may both have holiday arrangements on your mind. Though you both may have agreed on a holiday custody arrangement, do not be surprised if your ex makes a last-minute request — or if you find yourself wanting to do the same. If you or your former spouse want to go against your Florida custody agreement, what steps can you take to ensure everyone is happy this holiday season, and how can you make the changes without creating unnecessary conflict?
According to FindLaw, the courts are unlikely to be available to modify your schedule in time for the holidays. If the courts can squeeze you in, there is no guarantee they will be able to finalize the process before you need to finalize your holiday plans. That leaves you with one option: Compromising with your child’s other parent outside of court to accommodate each of your plans.
In an ideal situation, you and your former spouse want what is best for your child or children. With this shared goal in mind, you can work together to draft an informal custody modification agreement. Though you do not need to format the modified holiday agreement in any particular way, you should include a few key details, such as the when, where and how long of each parent’s holiday plans, the date of the agreement and the signature of both parties. You should also include details regarding pick up and drop off. Both you and your ex should keep a copy of the modified agreement, just in case one parent decides to go back on his or her word.
If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement, but you both want to modify the custody schedule, consider hiring a mediator to help you reach a compromise. Mediators often play “judge” in these kinds of last-minute custody disputes.
If mediation is unsuccessful, or if your child’s other parent will not even consider your holiday requests, it may be time to contact your attorney. Your lawyer can speak with your ex’s lawyer, who can then discuss with your former spouse the merits of working with you during the holiday season.
You should not use the contents of this article as legal advice. This article is for educational purposes only.