Christmas, Custody, and Divorce

Custody agreements result in the best of times when you have possession, the worst of times when you don't.

Holidays bring out the best and the worst in people, particularly divorced or separated parents.  In fact, I am going to take this opportunity to quote Charles Dickens who opens The Tale of Two Cities with the immortal words:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.

The opening passage of this literary classic, I am was told by my English Lit Professor, is about the duality of mankind.  It well may be about the duality of parenting roles.  When parents divorce or otherwise live separate one parent will be living the tale of two cities.  I have often said that in a “perfect world” I would have to find another way to make a living because every parent would set aside his or her issues with the other parent and every parent would look out for the child’s best interest.

Christmas is upon us.  The holiday season is traditionally a time when waring factions set aside differences and call a truce or at least the hostilities tend to mellow for a short period of reflection.  Family law is no different.  There are fewer divorces filed in the months of November and December, which is oft made up in the early months of the year and there lies the rub.  Why do Custody Attorneys and Divorce Lawyers have a “season” if you will allow me to use that term?  Why is there a lull in divorce and custody fights in the last few months of the year only to have a large influx of cases early in the year?  I have often surmised that it had something to do with the desire to not fight during the holidays and that perhaps explains the lull in divorce cases, but it does not explain custody issues.

Today, I was approached by two new clients with similar problems that may just shed some light on this subject.  Client number one was set to pick up his kids for Thanksgiving, but the ex-wife filed a motion to modify and emergency protective order on Friday morning.  When he arrived to get the kids, he was served and sent home without the children for the holiday weekend.  The second man was merely told by his ex that he need not bother trying because “the kids want to stay with me”.  I cannot divulge personal details but having met both clients and discussed the details I learned they share a common thread – an ANGRY MOMMA.

So, what does this have to to with Charles Dickens, his novel, or the holidays?  Simply put, you can replace the words “It was” with “The holidays are” and . . . you get the picture.  I am happy to get new clients, even though I realize they would much rather spend their hard earned money on the kids or a new car or anything fun for that matter.  So, if you want what is best for your kids; particularly if you are the “Angry Momma” type, may I suggest you try to be like those parents who have decided to call a truce during the holidays and just try to get along for the kids benefit.  It is not easy, but I am confident the unresolved hurt, the lack of “closure”, and the unquieted desire to get even that was never achieved will all be there January 2nd.

Stay tuned, I have much more to say on this subject in the coming weeks.  After all, divorce season is just around the corner.

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