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The holidays can bring child custody challenges


The guiding goal of child custody disputes, even during the holiday season, should be the best interests of the children and achieving that goal.

Divorce and child custody issues can be particularly difficult around the holidays, including for those in Michigan. Many parents may have an emotional reaction that is difficult to cope with. In the majority of child custody agreements, parents take turns having the children for the holidays. This means that parents likely end up with their children every other year and possibly alternate major holidays with the children. One of the ways that parents can grieve, and cope, with the devastation that this may cause is to create new holiday traditions; one way of doing this is to have a Thanksgiving or Christmas celebration that is not on the actual day if the parent will not have the children for that day in a particular year.

Regardless of the circumstances, child custody issues can cause strong emotions and can sometimes lead to child custody disputes. It is important to remember that child custody orders are based on the best interests of the children. This may help parents focus on working together to create a visitation plan that allows for parenting time for both parents that fosters a strong relationship with the children. Parents can work together to create a child custody agreement, including holidays, that works for the parents and children. When parents are unable to agree, the court can step in to help with child custody issues.

The overriding consideration in child custody determinations is the best interests of the child. There are many factors that are looked at, however, to arrive at this determination. Some common factors that may be considered include the mental and physical health of the parents; religious or cultural considerations; the need for a continued, stable, home environment; support and interaction with extended family members of either parent; relationship with members of a household; school and community concerns; age and gender of the child; as well as any abuse on the part of a parent or any drug or alcohol abuse a parent might engage in.

While child custody issues can perhaps seem overwhelming at times, it is important to remain focused on the children and what is best for the children. A trained family law attorney can help parents reach child custody agreements and arrangements that focus on the best interests of the children and that everyone can live with.

Source: Huffington Post, "Coping With Divorce at Thanksgiving," Jackie Pilossoph, Nov. 26, 2013

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Law Offices of Harris & Literski
123 Brighton Lake Road, Suite 205
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