Sometimes men give up their visitation rights over the holidays to accommodate their former spouses or extended families. The holidays are a time when children and their families tend to travel, and having a limited amount of time off from school may make it difficult for both parents to get equal time with the kids. The question arises: Should fathers give up some of their visitation time during the holidays in order to keep the peace or to allow kids to travel with their other parent? The attorneys at the Men’s Legal Center offer some thoughts.
- Giving up visitation time can set a bad precedent. Even if your ex does not try to take advantage of the situation next year by claiming that you set the example, giving up visitation can set a dangerous precedent that could come back to haunt you later. It is possible that your ex might use this against you in the future to show that you are not interested in spending time with your children. If you are going to allow your ex to have the children during your visitation time, be sure to get something from her in writing acknowledging that this is a one-time arrangement.
- Sometimes, it pays to be flexible. It is important to protect your rights, but it is realistic to acknowledge that there are times when it pays to be flexible. For example, suppose that your ex asks you to allow her to extend her holiday visitation with the children in return for allowing you to have them for the entire week of spring break. You may be able to plan a much nicer family time with your kids under those circumstances than if you insist on maintaining the letter of the agreement. If you are going to do this, be sure to document your agreement.
- Include the kids in your decision. As your children grow older, they will want to be included when you make family holiday plans. They may have school trips or other commitment that conflict with normal visitation. Try to stay flexible and work with your ex to ensure the kids get equal time with both parents and enjoy their holidays as well.
If you are facing problems with your ex or having trouble working out holiday visitation, contact the Men’s Legal Center for help.