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McCurrie McCurrie
& McCurrie, L.L.C.

680 Kearny Avenue
Kearny, NJ 07032-3010
Phone: (201) 467-4180
Fax: (201) 997-9567
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Are holiday plans included in your child custody agreement?

The holidays are here, and for many separated or divorced parents in New Jersey, that could mean a complicated situation in terms of child custody, especially if there is no official custody order in place. There are some things parents can do, though, to protect their kids from unnecessary stress and confusion, so let's consider some options.

First and foremost, if you and the other parent aren't clear on custody plans for the holidays, it's important not to put the children in the middle of a dispute. Better to try to clearly communicate with your ex and try to figure out a custody arrangement that puts the children's needs first.

Remember, too, that celebrating a particular holiday with your child doesn't necessarily have to happen on the actual day. Maybe a new tradition on a different day could be started after the divorce.

What many divorced parents do is alternate years of having the kids for the holidays. If that is your arrangement, it may still be a good idea to review the child custody order, just to clarify matters for yourself, your former spouse and the children. Life is busy, so it's best not to wait until the last minute to realize that your holiday plans won't work. Also, you don't want to unwittingly violate a visitation agreement.

Again, if plans for the holidays aren't covered in your divorce agreement, a divorce attorney or mediator can help clarify matters.

The main thing to keep in mind during the holidays is that the kids' best interests are the top priority, and parents who are currently going through a divorce should consider including language in the divorce agreement that specifically addresses special occasions throughout the year.

Source: The Mercury, "Child custody and the holidays: Do's and Don'ts," Andrew D. Taylor, Nov. 27, 2013

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