Monday, November 18, 2013

Holiday Visitation Schedule
It's that time of year again when I like to discuss holiday visitation.  As a Boise Divorce Attorney I spend a lot of time with my divorce clients reminding them to consult with their divorce decrees and custody arrangements so they know who has the kids this holiday season.  Inevitably, however, there are always glitches.

What the Divorce Decree Says
When I talk about glitches I mean anything from miscommunication to flat out disregard for the original custody order in the divorce decree.  No one should be in the dark about who has a child  for Thanksgiving or Christmas vacation.  The parties either agreed to dates in mediation or the judge ordered who would have what visitation.  Miscommunimcation happens when the parties think they have agreed to something other than what is in the decree.  The best way to prevent this is to keep any agreed upon changes in writing.  It can be very frustrating for someone to make plans and have those fall through because of confusion.

Far worse than miscommunication is flat out disobeying your court order.  The scenario is obvious; You are supposed to have the kids for Thanksgiving.  Your ex fails to meet for the exchange and instead takes the kids with them for their own Thanksgiving visitation and your ex denies you of your court ordered time. What can you do about it?  A lot of the depends upon when the vacation is supposed to start.  Even on emergency orders it is very difficult and rare to get into the court a day or two before Thanksgiving or Christmas. Usually, this is dealt with after the fact with contempt motions and orders.  While that does nothing for your immediate plans, the courts do not look kindly on contempt.

Visitation Before Divorce
A different situation occurs when your divorce has not yet been finalized.  Your divorce attorney will have moved for temporary orders and in those orders there will be information as to who has the children for what holidays.  Often the difference in temporary orders and a final order fall under taking the child out of the jurisdiction pending the divorce.  You may have Christmas vacation visitation, but you may not take your kids out of state without written approval by the other parent.  This differs from visitation after divorce. Generally, after divorce, within your visitation time you can take the kids with you out of state without the other party's approval as long as they are returned on time.

Whatever your holiday visitation schedule is, it is always best to follow what has been ordered by the court unless you get any change in writing and signed by both parties.  You can limit the involvement of the court and your Boise Divorce Attorney by doing this and thereby limit your out of pocket expenses.  Just a reminder;:  Double Check your holiday visitation schedule before you make plans and if you want to do something different talk to the other parent about any changes you would like to see.

If you are seeking a divorce or need to speak with a Boise Family Law Lawyer, give us a call, 208-472-2383 and see what we can do for you.  You will be glad you did.

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