Berman & Asbel, LLP

Holiday negotiation strategies for divorcing spouses

The holiday season is often an exciting and joyous time for Pennsylvania families, but it is also a period of unrelenting pressure. Minor squabbles between spouses or children can quickly erupt into major arguments, and divorcing parents trying to keep the atmosphere festive for all concerned must sometimes stifle strongly held views about holiday visitation arrangements. Dealing with such emotionally charged situations can be difficult, but there are steps that help to keep the peace.

Having a written and agreed upon parenting schedule is a common sense way to avoid misunderstandings and prevent conflict. Family law attorneys may provide assistance in this area to couples who have already initiated divorce proceedings, but spouses who have not yet taken this step can work out these arrangements for themselves. It is important for parents to remember that such schedules will only be effective at reducing conflict if all parties agree to the terms specified.

The success of these arrangements will largely depend on the negotiating skills of the spouses involved or their attorneys. Parents often develop deeply entrenched positions during child custody and visitation negotiations, and a successful outcome is unlikely unless they are prepared to listen to differing views and reach a compromise solution. Parents may choose to see their children at different times on special occasions or they could spend the entire day with them every other year.

Reaching an amicable settlement and avoiding the unpredictability of court action is often the primary goal of family law attorneys. While the matters discussed during a divorce can be hotly contested, an agreement is always a possibility if both sides are willing to listen. Attorneys may suggest alternative dispute resolution methods such as collaborative divorce or mediation to spouses who are finding it difficult to negotiate productively.

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