Disagreements regarding holiday child custody visitations frequently occur between separated parents. This is especially true during the period that includes Thanksgiving, Christmas/Winter Break, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Some court orders are not clear enough and are interpreted differently by each parent. In other cases, custody orders may be pending and undecided upon. If no litigation has ever commenced then not only are there no orders in place to resolve who has custody during these holidays but there are not even orders in the pipeline and it may be appropriate to commence an action. In all of these scenarios, it is best to address these issues in advance of the holidays.
First, see if you and the other parent can come to an agreement amongst yourselves. If an agreement is reached it should be specific and memorialized in a stipulation which is filed with the court. That way you’ll have an enforceable court order. Many individuals come to my office saying there was an agreement in place and at the last minute the other parent informed they have reneged; they cannot do this if a court order is in place. The stipulation should include specific language regarding the time and place for the exchange, exchange of itineraries, contact information and where the child(ren) will be, to name a few. A family law attorney can help you draft a stipulation. If you cannot agree and foresee the need for a judge to make orders, keep in mind it can take 45 days or more to get a court date set. Therefore, plan in advance.
Talk to your child custody attorney before the holiday season so you can plan your holiday schedule and any travel plans in advance if possible.
If you were unable to plan in advance and the holiday is fast approaching, you may still resolve the problem. Your lawyer may negotiate a visitation schedule for you and obtain an agreement. Another option would be to request ex parte, emergency relief – such as an order shortening time—to expedite a hearing or to obtain emergency orders when appropriate.
The holidays are special for all families. A good family law attorney may help ensure that you obtain an agreement or court order you are comfortable with.
Lance Claery, Esq.
Lance Claery has been successfully practicing family law for more than nine years. He has worked with a diverse client base ranging from multi-millionaires to low income, modest means clients. He started his career as an attorney working with one of Southern California's most experienced family law attorneys. Thereafter, Mr. Claery began working for one of Southern California's busiest and most prestigious law firms. He was made a partner of that firm very quickly and has since worked on hundreds of divorces and other family law matters. Mr. Claery has handled trials, depositions, arbitrations, mediations, hearings and emergency hearings with success. During law school, he worked with an experienced and aggressive family law attorney; this is when he discovered that family law was his calling. Helping individuals and families has always been a passion for Mr. Claery. He participated in the University of Maryland's internship program with the well known Hope Housing project. Here, he was able to help families in the poorest sections of Washington, D.C. work together to develop enrichment programs for children in a cooperative setting.
Mr. Claery's commitment to an open line of communication with his firm's clients and the members of this firm sets him apart from other attorneys. He is adamant that his clients are able to reach him and members of his firm when they are needed. Mr. Claery truly cares for each and every one of his firm's clients. Family law issues are oftentimes very stressful. He ensures that his firm's clients know they have a team at Claery and Green advocating for them and only them. At Claery and Green their clients come first. He and his partner have carefully selected the associates who will be handling your matter under their guidance.
In addition to family law, Mr. Claery has notable federal and administrative law experience. He is admitted to the United States District Court and has zealously handled and worked on security clearance matters across the country. Mr. Claery's other accomplishments include making the Dean's List at the University of Maryland, and acquiring both series seven and series sixty six licenses; this experience has helped him understand all types of assets and investments. He is a member of the California BAR Association and the Washington, D.C. BAR Association as well as the Los Angeles County and San Diego County BAR Associations.