Violation of custody agreement

#1

In the custody agreement ex and myself that holidays would be joint/shared. She was planning on dropping off the children the day after which I pointed out that this is incorrect and unfair - she would have to adjust her plans so that I get to spend time with the children on Christmas day.
My question is what if she doesnt drop them off on Christmas? Do I contact the authorities? I prefer not to so as not to turn the kids happy day upside down. I have an electronic journal that i document things - do i make a journal entry and contact my lawyer who handled the divorce and let him know?

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#2

I’m so sorry that there was a holiday visitation dispute. This is a real life example of what can likely happen if holidays are not clearly defined and divided. A vague agreement that holidays are “joint/shared” is simply insufficient. A quality holiday plan includes the following terms:

  1. A clear definition of WHAT is a holiday. Not everyone celebrates Christmas - you cannot simply assume that Christmas is automatically considered one. The same goes for all other holidays, whether major/standard ones or unique holidays to your family.

  2. Clear parameters on WHEN a holiday begins and ends. Does Christmas begin at 10 am or noon? Are Christmas Eve and Christmas Day the same holiday or two separate periods of time? Does 4th of July end at 11:00 pm on the 4th or at 8:00 am on the 5th? Having specific start/stop times is vital.

  3. Specifics on HOW a holiday is divided. Are you going to rotate the holiday every other year? Or, for example, will one parent have Christmas Eve every year and the other Christmas Day every year?

If you and your ex cannot work out a detailed holiday schedule that is reduced to writing and filed with the Court (the only way such an agreement can be enforced by law enforcement), you may wish to strongly consider going back to Court to work out a schedule. Remember, you two can always agree to deviate from the schedule in the future, but the key word is “agree.” A holiday schedule is your backup plan in case an agreement cannot be reached.

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#3

Thank you for your response, couple follow up questions.

  1. Is it common that individuals post divorce go back to the drawing board to revise custody agreements?
  2. How can be a resolution reached when one may not be in agreement, unwilling to compromise on items?
  3. Is it common to see one participant have resentment toward the other and is unwilling to negotiate, and how does the conversation move forward?

Thank you

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#4
  1. It happens quite often. Children are, by their very nature, changing and maturing very quickly. What works for a 2 year old may very well not work once that child begins Kindergarten, and their needs may change when they turn 10 or become a teenager.

  2. Ultimately, the judge decides.

  3. Yes. That is usually the reason why custody litigation occurs. When two parents cannot work together, the court becomes involved, and the judge will make a determination as to what is in your children’s best interests.

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#5

Evening

Thank you once again - much appreciated. Your answers have generated couple more questions.

  1. Does your law firm represent clients who require custody agreement updates?
  2. Would it be your suggestion to a potential client in this situation to work with the lawyer who represented them in the divorce (based on familiarity of both parties) or shopping for services elsewhere is acceptable?
    Thank you
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#6
  1. Yes, we definitely help out parents who need their custody orders/agreements modified.

  2. As a general statement, hiring a different attorney post-divorce can be a good decision for everyone involved. Since you’re a different person now in a different situation, it’s unrealistic to expect that your attorney-client relationship is the same. That doesn’t mean that your former attorney is automatically no longer a good fit for you, or conversely, if you were disappointed before, that you won’t get better results the second time around. You just need to do some self-reflection and make the best decision for you and your children. No competent attorney should get offended if you choose to go in a different direction - a divorce attorney who genuinely cares about the work will be happy if you have the best attorney for you and your needs.

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