Christmas is supposed to be the time of joy and peace, though imagine what it feels like to be a parent who cannot share the holiday period with their child. In this world, where divorce is common, many custody battles which occur at Christmas, when emotions are high, could be avoided by planning. Similarly, those legal problems which occur through thoughtless activity can also be avoided. This guide deals with two problems which may just end up in the courts if you don’t plan in advance.
Child custody battles
When couples split up, it is often the children who suffer. Having that Christmas away from a parent can be difficult for a child, but imagine the parent who is left out in the cold. Often, hasty action taken to gain custody of a child amounts to kidnapping and the parent who breaks the rules may just find themselves fighting a civil or criminal action because of their lack of thought.
When children are involved, parents must come up with a parenting plan which not only gives access to both parents, but which also takes into account periods such as holidays where either parent may find themselves off work and able to share prime time with the children. With emotions at a peak over the Christmas period, it’s important to have a parenting plan agreed between both parties which has been approved by the courts, so that an infraction of the law does not take place.
How to achieve this
This is achieved through the courts, though the best way for the children to accept what is happening is if both parents can be grown up about their decisions and come to an agreement which suits both parties which is then presented to the family courts. Once a decision is made, then it’s harder to change it if it hasn’t been well thought out than it is to get the plan right in the first place. You may want to spend Christmas with your absent child, but the boundaries have been set. Respect them. They are there to protect the children and to regularize their lives so they know where they are and what to expect.
For holidays such as Christmas, perhaps alternative days during the Christmas period can be agreed upon so that each parent gets to spend time with the children. Even if you divorce early in the year, think about those holidays because the time will come when they arrive and if they form part of the custody plan, it’s unlikely you will overstep the boundaries decided upon.
Similarly, if you live in a separate country to your ex and want to take children out of the country for Christmas, be sure that you have the legal right to do this. The last thing children need is to be taken from their parent at the airport in the event of the parent being accused of kidnapping.
Family Relations Law have some very good advice to parents about avoiding battles over custody that may lead a parent to breaking the law. It’s worthwhile reading this and complying with the instructions given, to avoid causing problems which need not be problems if forward thinking is employed.
Other legal infractions
Over the Christmas period, it’s easy to get carried away with the party atmosphere and break the law by driving. If you find yourself in a social situation, then it’s imperative that you make arrangements so that you can party safely. For example, in couples, often one stays sober so that they can be the driver while the other parties the night away. If you both want to drink, then make sure that you have made arrangements for a taxi to and from your destination.
The last thing you want to happen is to be pulled up for an infraction while driving drunk. It’s stupidity at its worst since with slippery roads and many people out with friends, those reflexes may not be as sharp as you think they are. Certainly hitting a pedestrian or another vehicle is not the way to spread good will, and you can avoid having to wake up in a prison cell by planning in advance.
Both of the above potential legal issues can be avoided if thought is put into what happens at Christmas in advance. The law is there to protect people. In the case of custody laws, these are to give children peace of mind and in the case of drunk driving, these laws are there to protect the innocent or the people who may just get hurt because of a foolish moment behind the wheel of the car while drunk.
The government have produced figures which relate to drunk-driving fatalities during the Christmas/New year break. Reading them may put the problems of drink driving into perspective, helping you to avoid becoming a future statistic or the cause of one.