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Family law guidelines may be hard during the holidays in Maryland

Maryland couples going through the divorce process likely know that there are many post-divorce considerations, which can become contentious. The family law areas of child support, child custody and visitation are of special concern for parents who are divorcing. What many couples may not consider is how their divorce will affect the upcoming holidays. How amicable and reasonable ex-spouses are with one another, and toward others, may influence how stressful the holidays are for everyone.

Of course, having a lot of family together during the holidays can be stressful without the added stress of a divorce. For parents, working through the holidays when there are stepparents or stepchildren in the picture may be particularly challenging. Because emotions run high, parents may find it difficult to manage visitation schedules and work around new family members.

An expert in the field recommends that divorced couples work together to include step families in the holiday plans. Asking them what they like, what their traditions are and what they would like to do can be a great way to integrate them into the family. Because it can be touchy when one parent has a new significant other in the picture, both parents may benefit from working together to keep the focus on the children and not their divorce.

For many parents, the holidays are filled with hectic schedules and visits back and forth with each parent. In many cases, parents can work together amicably and follow the family law guidelines set forth in the final decree. In other cases however, parents may find that they are unable to reach a conclusion, or are unwilling to bend their desires. In these cases, it may be beneficial to consider what legal options are available to help these Maryland families have a happy holiday season.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Navigating the holidays after a recent divorce," Cheryl Stritzel, Nov. 13, 2012

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