Child Custody in Wisconsin During the Holidays

Wisconsin Family law attorneys often see a spike in business in November and December as parents confront problems during the holidays. Shared placement, holiday travel, increased child care expenses, traditions with extended family – many issues can arise at this emotionally charged time of year. The holidays are right around the corner; make sure now, before problems arise, that your legal documents are in order and you are fully prepared for shared parenting during the holidays.

Many of the problems that arise this time of year can be anticipated and prevented. Closely read what your legal documents have to say about the holidays; parents often don’t have a clear recollection of these provisions. If your legal documents are not completely clear regarding child placement arrangements during the holidays – or if you have no legal documents – start the discussions with your parenting partner well in advance of the holidays. Expect that both parents will need to compromise. If your holiday plans include travel, provide your parenting partner with a detailed itinerary. For steps to minimize conflict and set a positive example for your children during the holidays, see New York University Child Study Center’s article, “Divorce and the Holidays: Split Decison or Family Friendly Compromise?” Psychology Today’s “Managing Divorce and Children During the Holidays” offers holiday suggestions in the broader context of the co-parenting relationship. If you are worried about whether the holidays will run smoothly, this is a good time to schedule an appointment with your family law attorney.

If holidays frequently present problems in your family and you find yourself paying an annual December visit to a Wisconsin circuit court, you and your parenting partner may want to consider using a Parenting Coordinator. A Parenting Coordinator is a neutral “on-call” decision-maker who can help parents evaluate options and work on conflict resolution, and if necessary can make decisions for the parents. You can find more information on Parenting Coordinators at Wessel, Lehker & Fumelle.