DISCLAIMER: The following is NOT legal advice, nor is it a substitute for legal advice. If you are in Family Court you will need legal advice, so please see a lawyer.
Divorced dads face many problems during Christmas and other holidays with their children. But there are solutions. Let me share a story about my experience with you:
The worst Christmas that I ever had was spent watching Godfather III in a theater after handing over my kids at 4:00 p.m. to their mom. But there are far worse holiday horror stories. Fathers get told with no notice, “No, you can’t have little Jimmy on Christmas Eve like we originally planned. You can see him for a couple of hours on the 26th.”
Fathers who are successful with holiday and birthday visitation issues don’t leave legal action to the last moment. To ensure the holiday schedule goes as planned, especially if problems are anticipated, you may need police enforcement of your holiday access.
In my opinion, “early” for Christmas means getting started in September or before. Don’t wait until the last minute. In December, the court system slows to a near standstill. Faced with the prospect of not seeing your children on Christmas, slow paced legal proceedings make stress even worse.
In court, don’t wage war; wage peace. Judges don’t care about what is good for you. Present evidence to the judge in terms of how your suggestions benefit your children and a GREAT compromise focused on calming their holiday anxiety. That’s what judges want to hear.
Most courts order that holidays, birthdays and Christmas be equally divided. But put yourself in your kids’ shoes for a moment. It’s not good for the kids to chop a special day in half.
If you don’t get your kids for the holidays, buy them a present anyway. Wrap it and put it away. When you finally see your kids, even if it’s March or June, put on your Santa hat and pull out the present. Your kids will appreciate that you didn’t forget them.
Don’t bad-mouth their mother either. Kids are smart. Kids will figure out what is really going on if you are non-confrontational.
Ultimately, we had to get creative. We celebrate two birthdays and holidays; one with each parent. I’ve celebrated Christmas by surprising my kids days early with a full out celebration. We had a great time because we didn’t get stuck on celebrating on a certain day.
I still get lonely at Christmas. BUT, when I see how the kids turned out, due to the efforts I made to make them happy, especially during the holidays, I know I have been a great Dad. And no one can ever take that away.
Don’t ever give up and don’t ever lose hope. Most judges understand how sad a time holidays are. If you come across angry, you do your kids and yourself an enormous disservice. Be the man you claim to be by example: Be a man of peace and extend goodwill to all. This is the best overall approach and strategy successful divorced dads use to maintain a close relationship with their children.
Remember this above all else: Your example of love, peace and fatherly wisdom is the best present you can give your children for Christmas.
During my divorce, I wished for a divorce road map. That’s why we created a weekly telewebcast, to help men like yourself.
If you’ve lost in Family Court, don’t give up. There is always hope. You’ve likely lost because you didn’t understand that winning requires effectively “waging peace” for your children.
If you base your game plan and strategies upon those of successful fathers, you will improve your chances of success immeasurably. You need help from dads who have done what you are trying to do.
Danny Guspie – Executive Director of Fathers Resources International can help you learn the successful strategies of fathers who have won in Family Court. Join us on our weekly calls at DivorcedDadWeekly.com where we will share with you what works for successful divorced dads.