This information is informative and educational in nature and is not intended as legal advice. To discuss your family law matters related to child custody in Oklahoma, call Justice Legal Team PLLC now at 405-493-9090. We're conveniently located in midtown Oklahoma City. Ask about our payment plans and learn for yourself why we say that not all heroes wear capes!
Child custody in Oklahoma becomes an especially sensitive matter during the holidays. As midtown Oklahoma family law attorneys, we can't count the number of times that the stress of the season made it more difficult for both the parents and the children involved. The holidays are meant to be a time to spend with family to make memories. It's supposed to be a special, magical time for children. In this, our inaugural blog post, we're gifting you with our top 5 tips to help you be a better co-parent during the holiday season.
Plan Around Your Existing Oklahoma Custody and Visitation Schedule
Before you finalize your holiday plans, take a few minutes to review your existing Oklahoma custody and visitation schedule. This will help you understand the time that you'll have with your children as well as the time their other parent is entitled to have with them. In most standard child custody arrangements in Oklahoma, the parents split the holiday time. For example, one parent may have the children for Thanksgiving of one year as well as the first half of Christmas break and the other parent may have the children for the second half of Christmas break, which generally includes New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Then, the schedule reverses in the following year. Of course, the parents have the opportunity to discuss child custody and visitation before the order and schedule are finalized; meaning exactly which holiday each parent will spend with the children may be different than the information presented in the standard Oklahoma custody and visitation schedule.
If you have a good co-parenting relationship with the other parent, both of you should be able to effectively communicate about the holiday schedule as well as any changes that either of you may need. The importance of good communication between the parents cannot be emphasized enough, especially during the holiday season. While you aren't necessarily required to give up your scheduled time with your children, a compromise between the parents for the good of the children can go a long way during the holidays.
Don't Overschedule Yourself…or Your Children
The holidays are a time to spend with friends and family while creating lifelong memories. It's what this season is known for! Yet, matters related to child custody in Oklahoma can leave you feeling as if you don't have enough time to spend with your children since they should also spend time with their other parent. This could lead to you overscheduling yourself and your children. And overscheduling leads to stress and frustration. And stress and frustration lead to the type of holiday memories that you and your children would rather not have.
Make sure that you schedule in some downtime just for you and your children. You can spend this time at home doing absolutely nothing aside from unwinding or you can do some relaxing family activities such as watching some holiday movies, listening to seasonal music or making treats. When you think about it, those times we spent doing activities like that with our family are the ones that we recall with fondness.
Never Insult or Complain about the Other Parent
Children do not belong in the middle of adult issues, and that includes how the parents may feel about each other. Even if you think that the other parent is saying things they shouldn't say about you while they are in front of your children, that doesn't mean that you should do it, too. Keep negative feelings about the other parent to yourself. If the children tell you something the other parent said about you, change the subject. Do not continue to keep them in the middle of an ugly situation. If necessary, you can address the issue directly with the other parent at another time and remind them that the children should not be placed in the middle.
Do Not Withhold Visitation
Unless there is a dire and dangerous situation, do not withhold the children from visiting with their other parent according to the existing Oklahoma child custody and visitation schedule. Do not withhold the children if child support has not been paid or is late. Do not withhold the children because you made plans with your children during a time that you knew they were supposed to be with the other parent. Keeping the children away from their other parent is very hurtful to the children. They should not be used as weapons. Be gracious during the holidays even if this is the only time of the year that the other parent tries to have any sort of contact with the children.
If you believe that there is a dire and dangerous situation, document what's happening. This includes, but is not limited to, voicemails, social media posts, private messages, text messages, and the likes. Then, if necessary, call the police to file a report. Talk with your lawyer before making a decision about whether you're within your rights as the custodial parent to withhold visitation because of the issue. If you don't have an attorney, Justice Legal Team is currently accepting new clients dealing with child custody in Oklahoma. Contact us today to set up your consultation. We offer affordable payment plans.
Take Time for Yourself During the Holiday Season
The holidays are stressful for most people with all of the typical requirements of paying the monthly bills, working, taking care of the family, and doing what we can for the holidays. Adding in child custody and visitation is another element that often causes stress. When your children spend time with their other parent, indulge in some self-care. Of course, we here at Justice Legal Team don't really see self-care as an indulgence so much as a necessity for better mental and physical health.
While your children enjoy time with their other parent, do something just for you. We recognize this can be difficult particularly if this is your first holiday season where your children split their time between you and your other parent. And that makes self-care all the more important. Watch some movies. Take yourself out on a coffee date or a dinner date. Enjoy some time with your friends. This is an opportunity for you to recharge.
Justice Legal Team PLLC – Not All Heroes Wear Capes
Child custody in Oklahoma is often fraught with issues that make an emotional situation much harder. If you're looking for a child custody attorney in Oklahoma who offers payment plans and who genuinely cares, call Justice Legal Team PLLC now at 405-493-9090.