The holiday season is typically demanding for parents, especially divorced parents beholden to strict custody orders. So, if you are living in St. Charles and bracing for your first holiday season as a divorced parent, it’s natural to worry about the potential conflicts you might face with your co-parent as you balance your respective holiday schedules.

When parents share custody of their children and live relatively close to one another in the St. Charles area, their custody order is likely to require them to split the time they spend with their children on each holiday. The children may spend the morning with one parent and the evening with the other. Other parents may prefer to alternate holidays or make alternative arrangements based on their unique family dynamics, travel plans, work schedules, and other details.

Managing any custody order over the long term can be stressful and demanding, but the holiday season typically presents an added layer of stress for parents with custody orders. Of course, it is always best for parents to adhere to their custody orders’ terms as closely as possible, but it’s understandable to encounter unexpected situations around the holidays you may not know how to address on your own. Additionally, this time of year can be hard on your children, especially if it is their first holiday after their parents’ divorce.

Best Practices for Easier Holidays After a Divorce

Every family has unique dynamics, traditions, and other variables that can feel more imposing during the holidays. Many families travel to see relatives, take vacations, and arrange other special family events during the holiday season. When newly divorced parents are still adjusting to their custody terms, and the divorce is still fresh and potentially traumatic for their children, the holiday season can be very difficult for many reasons. A few tips can potentially help you and your children have an easier time managing holiday schedules and avoid conflicts with your co-parent:

  • Good communication between co-parents is crucial, but it is especially important during the busy holiday season. You and your co-parent should keep each other informed about holiday plans as soon as possible.
  • A willingness to compromise can save you and your co-parent a tremendous amount of time and stress. The two of you can adjust your usual custody schedule without the court’s intervention, and most parents are able to handle this for occasional one-off schedule change.
  • Legal counsel you can trust is always helpful, especially after a contentious divorce and your first holiday season as a divorced parent. If any substantial violation of your custody order occurs over the holiday season, you will need an experienced attorney to help you address the issue effectively.
  • Temperance and patience are valuable virtues when dealing with unexpected complications during the holiday season. For example, if you are sharing the day with your co-parent but are late dropping off your children due to holiday traffic, being understanding rather than spiteful in situations like these can make the holidays easier for everyone this year and help foster more amicable co-parenting for the future.

Ultimately, every parent faces unique challenges during the holiday season, but adjusting to a new custody order can be incredibly difficult for any family. Whatever your situation entails, working with an experienced family lawyer will significantly improve your ability to enjoy this holiday season and minimize the chance for disruptive conflicts to arise.


Q: Can My Co-parent and I Adjust Our Parenting Time Schedule as Needed?

A: There are only two ways you are permitted to stray from the terms and conditions of your family court order: mutual agreement or a modification order. If you are preparing for the holidays and you and your co-parent have conflicting schedules that make your standard custody arrangement unreasonably difficult, the two of you are allowed to come up with a mutually agreeable solution without going to court. More substantial and permanent changes to a custody order must be implemented through the modification process.

Q: What Happens If a Parent Refuses to Follow Their Parenting Plan in St. Charles?

A: Any willful violation of a lawful family court order in St. Charles can easily lead to contempt of court and even prosecution for various charges. Depending on the nature, scope, and severity of a parent’s behavior, their penalties could include incarceration, financial penalties, and even loss of parental rights. Therefore, if your co-parent has failed or refused to comply with your parenting plan in any significant way, it’s best to consult a St. Charles family law attorney about how you can address this.

Q: Can I Move With a Custody Order in Missouri?

A: If you are the sole custodial parent of your child and have full legal custody, you are permitted to relocate as long as you do so while adhering to the terms of your custody order and the statutes of the St. Charles family court. Depending on whether your child’s other parent has any custody or visitation rights at all, there may not be any requirement for you to obtain their consent or even notify them of your intent to relocate. Relocation disputes typically lead to contentious hearings if the other parent objects and has any measure of custody or visitation. The parent who wishes to relocate with their child must prove doing so would better suit the child’s needs and interests than their current arrangement.

Q: Do I Need an Attorney to File Contempt Proceedings in St. Charles?

A: It is technically possible to file contempt proceedings against your co-parent in the St. Charles family court without an attorney but hiring legal counsel to assist you will make this process much easier to manage. Your attorney can ensure the court gives your situation the attention and consideration it deserves and that any and all violations of your parenting plan are appropriately addressed.

It can be incredibly frustrating to deal with prolonged periods of noncompliance with your custody order, and it can be incredibly distressing to experience an acute violation of your custody terms that you believe could pose a risk to your child’s safety. Whatever your situation may entail this holiday season, contact an experienced St. Charles family law attorney if you intend to form any legal response against your co-parent’s recent violation of your parenting plan.