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Get a custody order in place before the holidays

With the holidays fast approaching, divorced Belleville parents may be gearing up for another round of arguments over custody arrangements. This is especially true for those who may have just separated recently and who have no binding custody order in force.

No parent wants to be the holiday Scrooge, dealing with custody hassles when you’d rather be trimming the tree, baking Christmas cookies or wrapping gifts. Custody disputes can turn happy holiday celebrations into battlegrounds where nobody is the winner — least of all, the kids.

We urge divorcing parents to seek a valid custody order to sidestep some of these hot-button issues. Once court-ordered visitation has been established, it eliminates the need for ongoing arguments over who gets the kids on which days during the winter holidays.

While having a valid custody order in place cannot guarantee that your holiday plans will go off without a hitch, it does provide a blueprint for you and your ex to follow. If either parent is noncompliant with the order, the court can impose contempt sanctions after a hearing to review the allegations of noncompliance.

Even in less acrimonious divorces, it is a good idea for the parents to stipulate the custody arrangements and visitation schedule in an order that is filed with the court and signed by the judge adjudicating the case.

Even friendly divorces can go suddenly south if one parent decides to make travel plans involving the minor child with which the other parent doesn’t agree. Without an order in place, it leaves the other parent with few options but to acquiesce to the situation even if they feel that it is not in the child’s best interests.

We can help you draft and file a custody order that can clarify the custodial matters and avoid a holiday battle over the kids.

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