Category Archives: Visitation

Christmas Custody and Visitation.

In divorce situations the holidays, including Christmas, can be more difficult than any other time.  Christmas is a special time when everyone is supposed to get along and we celebrate family.  However, a divorce can certainly change that.

Most often divorced parties alternate the children during the holidays.  Usually the Christmas break is divided between the parents based upon the school calendar.  Additionally, the children usually spend part of Christmas Day with each parent.  The typical Custody/Visitation scheduled may look like this.

“In even-numbered years the Father shall have Thanksgiving from Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving through Thanksgiving weekend, ending Monday morning when he returns the child to school.

In even-numbered years the Mother shall have Christmas from the day school recesses for Christmas Break until Christmas Day at 2:00 p.m., and the Father shall have from 2:00 p.m. December 25 until January 1, at 12:00 noon.  The mother shall have from noon January 1, until school resumes, at which time the regular custody/visitation schedule shall resume.  In odd-numbered years this schedule shall be reversed so that the father shall have from the time school recesses for Christmas Break until Christmas Day at 2:00 p.m., and the Mother shall have from 2:00 p.m. December 25 until January 1, at 12:00 noon, with the Father having from noon January 1, until school resumes.”

This is just an example, though is fairly typical.  Having said that, the Court will likely approve any arrangement the parties can mutually agree upon.  There are good reasons to agree to an alternative plan.  Sometimes family tradition is to celebrate Christmas Eve and it may make more sense and be easier for the children if that parent continued with that tradition.  Sometimes the parties live so far apart that the travel on Christmas Day is unreasonable.  Pay attention to this.  It may make more sense and be easier for everyone involved for the exchange to be the 26th.  One judge, no longer on the bench, always awarded the custodial parent Christmas Eve and day.  His sentiment was the children needed to be “home” for Christmas.  The other parent did receive a good amount of time over the holidays and just adapted with “new” traditions.

As parents your job is to make the holiday as normal as possible.  It is okay to start new traditions, but don’t do so at the expense of your child’s emotional well-being.  Oh, and don’t agree to the alternating Christmas language in your papers based upon the other parent telling you, “don’t worry about it, you can always have Christmas morning ‘irregardless’ of the papers.”  First of all ‘irregardless’ is a non-standard word that will have the grammar police en route and secondly if it’s not in your papers, it’s not going to happen.

Remember this, Christmas can be whenever you and your child have the chance to be together.

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Top 3 Lawyer Jokes (Some of my favorites)

I think we can admit we all enjoy a good lawyer Joke every now and again.  We’re an affable bunch, generally, and easy targets.  We do so much that can be made fun of.  Here are a few of my favorites.

  • 3.  What do you call 10,000 Lawyers in the ocean?

A good start.

  • 2.  A Doctor, an Engineer and a Lawyer were discussing who represented the oldest of their three professions. The doctor said, “On the sixth day God took a rib from Adam and made Eve, making him the first surgeon. So medicine is the oldest profession.”  The Engineer said, “Before that, God created the heavens and earth from chaos and confusion, making Him the first Engineer. So engineering is older than medicine.”  The Lawyer spoke up, “True, but who do you think created all of the chaos and confusion?”
  • 1.    A man in Arizona calls his  adult son in New York a few days before Christmas and says, “I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing.  Forty-five years of misery is enough.”  “What are you talking about?,” the son asks.  “We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer,” the father says. “We’re sick of each other, and I’m tired of talking about this, so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her.”  Frantic, the son calls his sister, who becomes very upset on the phone. “They are not getting divorced,” she shouts, “I’ll take care of this!”She calls home to Arizona immediately and screams at her father, “You are NOT getting divorced. Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?” and hangs up.The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. “Okay” he says, “they will be here for Christmas and they’re paying their own way.”
  • What’s your favorite lawyer joke?  Send an email or leave a comment.  You may see it here!

Thompson Law Firm, pllc     (601) 850-8000

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Grandparents, Not Just for Babysitting (Grandparent’s Visitation in Mississippi)

For as long as people have had children there have been grandchildren.  Where there are grandchildren there are Grandparents.  Where there are Grandparents there are free babysitters!

Mississippi has a statute, MCA 93-16-3, that specifically provides for Grandparent’s Visitation.  Grandparent’s Visitation is different from babysitting and is different from just being in the child’s life.  Specifically, Grandparent Visitation is for when the mother or father of the child dies, to insure that the Grandparent continues to have access to the child or when the Grandparent and their child have a falling out and the Grandparent has a viable relationship and active in the grandchild’s life, and also in divorce and/or Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) situations.

The law provides a viable relationship may be proven by showing that the grandparent has supported the grandchild in whole or in part for at least six months prior to the filing of the petition, or the grandparent had frequent visitation for one year prior to the filing of the petition.

The case of Martin v. Coop, 693 So.2d 912, 913 (Miss. 1997), list the factors the Court considers when determining the amount of Grandparent Visitation.

  • Potential disruption in the child’s life;
  • Suitability of the grandparents’ home;
  • The child’s age;
  • The age, physical and mental health of the grandparents;
  • The emotional ties between grandparents and the child;
  • The grandparents’ moral fitness;
  • Physical distance from the parents’ home;
  • Any undermining of the parents’ discipline;
  • The grandparents’ employment responsibilities;
  • The grandparents’ willingness not to interfere with the parents’ rearing of the child.

Usually grandparent visitation is not the equivalent of parental visitation.  Meaning grandparents will not get every other weekend under ordinary circumstances.

A Grandparent Visitation suit can also result in the Grandparents paying their own attorney fees PLUS those of the mother/father as  provided for in the statute.

Grandparents have rights in Mississippi to see their grandchildren.

**Grandparent Visitation is different from a grandparent seeking custody, which is a different standard and a blog for another day.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney and knows grandparent’s rights.

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