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Archive for December, 2013

Holiday Visitation

Are you concerned about seeing your children over the holidays?  Disputes over holiday child custody visitation are not uncommon, but can be quite unpleasant. The holidays can be stressful enough, without having to worry about seeing your children.  Here is some information to help you get through the season.  As always, feel free to contact Mahlum Law Office with your custody or visitation questions.

1.  Do I have grounds for an emergency custody order?

In North Carolina, there are typically only two scenarios under which a parent may have grounds for an emergency custody order:  1) if a child is in serious danger of bodily harm, or 2) a parent is trying to flee the state with the child for the purpose of evading the jurisdiction.  If an agreement for holiday visitation is not being followed, as frustrating as it is, this situation will still not constitute grounds for an emergency custody order.

2.  What if I am entitled to a specific holiday, but it is not my weekend?

Often times, parents have questions regarding the logistics of holiday visitation orders.  For example, it may be one parent’s regularly scheduled weekends, but that weekend may also be a holiday.  Typically, specific holiday provisions in custodial agreements override general visitation provisions.  So even if it is your weekend, you may not be entitled to your regular visitation if the agreement provides that the other parent is entitled to the holiday in question.

3.  We don’t have a court order.  Can I see my kids?

If there is no written agreement as to which parent is entitled to holiday visitation with the children, things can get very contentious.  Unfortunately, absent a written agreement or court order to the contrary, each parent has just as much right to visitation as the other.  This is why it is very important to iron out these possible conflicts well in advance of any holiday.

4. How will the courts divide holiday visitation?

There are many different ways of ensuring that both parents get meaningful time with the children over the holidays.  Parents may agree to rotate holidays each year.  For example, one parent will be entitled to the holiday in odd years, while the other parent will be entitled to visitation on the same holiday in even years.  Or, parents may decide to equally divide the holiday, taking into account the length of the holiday and school schedules.  This method is popular, as both parents are allowed to see the children during the same holiday.  There is no black and white formula for dividing holiday visitation, and schedules are best determined on a case by case basis, to ensure that each family’s individual needs are met.