Dealing with an Uncooperative Ex During the Holidays

divorce attorney Jill Duffy

By Jill A. Duffy

Attorney, Cordell & Cordell

You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink.

You’ve tried everything, but your former spouse will not budge on holiday parenting time with your children.

Resolving this situation will depend on what stage of the divorce process you are in during the holiday.

In another article, I discussed how to deal with an outdated parenting schedule that is no longer realistic for your family.

My divorce has been filed, but parenting time has not been resolved

At this point in your divorce you may have resolved the day-to-day parenting time, at least temporarily, but you probably do not have a holiday parenting time order.

If your wife simply refuses to agree to a reasonable holiday schedule, get the court involved sooner rather than later. As the holidays approach, courts are frequently closed, or have heavier dockets to finalize before the end of the year.

You should file a petition to establish a holiday parenting time schedule. Find out from your wife what her holiday plans are. Create a proposed schedule that allows both of you to have reasonable parenting time and present it to your wife. Seeing it in writing, or on a calendar, may help win her over.

If she doesn’t agree, present it to the judge. If allowed, explain to the judge that you took her holiday plans into consideration, and give the judge the reasons why your schedule will work. The easier you make it for the judge to rule in your favor the more likely you will be to get the time you desire.

 

My divorce was finalized last year, but this is our first holiday season apart

Your first holiday season apart will likely be the hardest one. You are going from two parents in one household to two parents in two households.

Make the transition easier on your children by getting a schedule set well in advance. If you have exhausted all reasonable options, and your former spouse still will not agree to a reasonable holiday schedule, take a look at your divorce decree.

Read the specific language of your holiday parenting time schedule. If specific dates and times for the holidays are spelled out in the decree make sure you know what they are. Copy the pages outlining your holiday time, and have them available.

Request that your former spouse follow the order, and put your request in writing. It may be helpful to remind your spouse that there is a court order regarding parenting time. This should not be a threat, but a gentle reminder that the court allows you to have time with the children during the holidays.

Putting your request to follow the order in writing begins a paper trail of your reasonableness and attempts to resolve the situation without getting the court involved.

If all else fails, talk to your attorney. The laws of each state differ, and the availability of court action before an order is actually violated will vary. Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located nationwide.

In Michigan, where I practice, a parent must wait until the order is violated to petition the court for relief. As soon as available in your jurisdiction, file a petition for enforcement of the parenting time order.

In another article, I discussed how to deal with an outdated parenting schedule that is no longer realistic for your family.

 

Don’t forget…

The most important thing you can do when dealing with an uncooperative spouse is to not let your kids know what is going on.

The holidays are a special time for children, and involving them in power struggles or parent disputes will frustrate them and create bad memories that will last for years to come.

Try to make the holidays as smooth and carefree for your children as you can.

 

Jill A. Duffy is an Associate Attorney in the Troy, Mich., office of Cordell & Cordell. She is licensed to practice in the state of Michigan. Ms. Duffy received her BA in Psychology and Spanish and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Oakland University. She received her Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law and graduated Magna Cum Laude.  

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One comment on “Dealing with an Uncooperative Ex During the Holidays

    Good advice!
    “If you have exhausted all reasonable options, and your former spouse still will not agree to a reasonable holiday schedule, take a look at your divorce decree.” This is possibly the best advice that any man can take. I think that it is a shame to hold children hostage at Christmas time or any other time for that matter

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