October 26, 2016

​Collaborative Divorce and Holiday Timesharing (Visitation) ​

Timesharing and visitation  - West Palm Beach Divorce Law firm

Going through any type of divorce is traumatic. But going through a divorce with children is even more exponentially nerve racking and carries with it its own set of issues. Major issues in parenting during and after a divorce, occur around decision-making and timesharing (visitation) or contacts scheduled with your children. Among the timesharing issues are holidays.

With Thanksgiving, we begin the end‑of-the-year holiday visitation, which includes: Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Years. This trifecta of events often causes family law attorneys in Florida to have ulcers as they try to deal with their clients and their former or divorcing spouses, while attempting to negotiate or litigate contact or timesharing schedules that meet not only their children's best interests but their client's often conflicting vacation schedules.

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Unfortunately, most states have parenting plans that are basically a parenting plan that exists in a form. Although an individual can deviate from the form, oftentimes, the pressures of limited time in mediation and other more immediate financial issues, often cause parenting plans to be given a "rear seat" of importance in terms of the parties attempting to negotiate a resolution of these issues. Going to the courts is not much better. Courts have congested trial dockets. Consequently, issues concerning timesharing (particularly holiday timesharing) are often only a "formulistic cookie-cutter”, type of resolution.

Unfortunately, these resolutions often result in ongoing holiday timesharing (visitation) disputes concerning your children, which continue to exist long after a divorce has been concluded. Nevertheless, the stress of “hostile holiday resolution" can be mostly eliminated if not resolved, when couples choose a collaborative divorce. The collaborative divorce process allows the divorcing couple/parents to structure a holiday visitation plan which meets the best interests of the children, and is also tailored to the specific needs of the situation and the long-term needs of their parents.

Being able to carefully structure a detailed and individualized parenting plan (including a holiday timesharing plan that works for the parties and is in the best interests of their children) is one of the reasons to consider a collaborative divorce. The collaborative divorce process makes it possible for both divorcing partners to share alternative options and to shape the provisions in a settlement agreement. No longer are they subject to the cookie-cutter formulations and the constraints of limited courtroom time (placed upon judges hearing litigated matters) or the limited time period that often exists in mediation sessions. Their agreement can be fine tuned to deal with the reasonable needs and concerns of both parents regarding their children. This process preempts potential ongoing conflict that often ensues after a settlement is reached and has occurred in an adversarial process – either negotiation or through the litigation process. Because both parents have played an active role in the negotiation process of creating, evaluating, and accepting alternatives proposed by the other parties, their attorneys, and the other collaborative professionals involved in their case, both parents have a sense of ownership of the holiday timesharing plan. Consequently, these parents are far less likely to resist the holiday timesharing schedule or to attempt to undermine it each year when the holidays arrive. In addition, some flexibility can be incorporated into the timesharing plan when negotiating collaboratively.

Divorce often results in turmoil and often means conflict and adversarial litigation. However, the manner in which the issues of any conflict are addressed will determine whether the conflict continues post-divorce or whether a long-term solution is achieved. Collaborative divorce in Florida offers the best alternative for a long-term cooperative, working-together, peaceful co‑parenting relationship for a divorcing couple, both during the holidays and during other times of the year.


Board Certified Marital and Family Law Attorney Charles D. Jamieson understands that divorce is an extremely sensitive and important issue. Thanks to extensive experience and a focus on open communication, Attorney Jamieson adeptly addresses the complex issues surrounding divorce while delivering excellent personal service. To discuss your divorce timesharing dispute or other family law issues, please contact The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. online or call 561-478-0312 and schedule a consultation.

Collaborative Divorce, Timesharing, Child Custody, Visitation

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