Family Law

January 2023 – Breaking the News: How to Discuss Your Family Law Matters Over the Holiday?

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The holidays can be an amazing moment to share with family and friends to most people, a moment to share good memories, and good food and drinks. However, sometimes it is not as easy for some people. How do you navigate custody over the holidays if you are divorced? Or how do you announce a wedding if you know that someone in your family might not be happy to hear it?

Discussing family issues is always hard, and when it happens over the holidays it can be a new level of stress, especially if it involves legal matters. With this in mind, there are ways to navigate the subject in order to make the best situation out of this.

Finding the Perfect Timing

Sometimes the best way to discuss family issues is to wait until the holidays are over. Depending on the matter of your news, it may be a sensible decision to hold it to yourself until a better time comes, so you can openly talk about it without risking a family crisis during a period of harmony.

Before you break the news to all of your relatives and loved ones, you have to ask yourself: how urgent is this? Can it wait until January? If the answer is yes, you should probably take a step back and plan yourself better.

This is especially important if you can affect the children around you. The holiday season is always exciting for the little ones, and depending on the severity of the news, it can taint the good memories they will carry throughout the years.

Another thing to analyse is whether you have good news or bad news. Pregnancies and weddings are, usually, happy moments for the entire family, so you do not need as much preparation to announce them. Just make sure that you are surrounded by people who love and support you, and you are ready to go.

On the other hand, if you have urgent bad news, it may be necessary to have one or two people in your family helping you out. Sharing the burden of breaking bad news can be an excellent coping mechanism to get you through it. 

Holiday Parenting Plan 

One of the most common situations to arise in the holiday season is co-parenting. If a couple is divorced, it can be hard sometimes to accommodate both parents’ needs and wants. During the holidays, family courts in Alberta deal almost exclusively with co-parenting, child access and visitation issues.

One of the best solutions for this is to put the needs of the child first. Trying your best for an amicable agreement will make it much less stressful for the parents, and most importantly for the child. 

Listening to the child’s input and thinking ahead of a holiday parenting plan can greatly support divorced parents in making the most out of the holidays. If the divorced parents decide to take the matters to a Family Court, they are abdicating their control over the final decision and giving it into the hands of a judge.

Most importantly, the child will not remember the amount of time specifically they spent with each parent, but they will keep the memories and how it was for them. Making it the least stressful possible for them is in everyone’s best interests.

In those situations, consider making a holiday parenting plan ahead of time to avoid any surprises. Identify the holidays that matter the most to you and your family and be specific about the time they normally take, consider if they might involve travelling and if it can be incorporated into the regular co-parenting agreement, and consider the needs of the child so they can best enjoy the holidays.

It is also important to include the children in this decision. Ask them what would they prefer, and propose a solution that makes everyone happy. A common practice between divorced parents is to alternate the custody of their children during holiday seasons year-to-year.

Wedding Proposals

With the holiday season, it is common to see proposals happening all around. The excitement and cheerful moment make it great for couples to find the right hour to pop the question.

The main problem associated with it is that a lot of times couples do not communicate enough to know all the legal matters associated with marriage. A common example is a prenuptial agreement, a legally binding agreement between both parties where it is determined terms and conditions of the marriage are, it is normally done to protect parties in case they part ways in a non-amicable way.

Having open communication between you and your spouse-to-be is the first and the absolute most important step. This talk must happen hopefully prior to the proposal to make sure that no surprises will ruin the magical moment.

Another problem that can come out of it if this is not communicated properly and prior to the proposal is if the engagement does not go forward. An engagement ring may be considered in most cases a “conditional gift” and may be returned to the purchaser if the engagement is not going to happen, but it may also be treated as a traditional gift by the judge as well, so agreements need to always be communicated between parties.

Overall Conclusion 

Communicating legal family matters can be overwhelming, especially over the holidays. But having amicable discussions and solving those issues by finding common ground and a solution that can satisfy all parties’ needs is in everyone’s best interest to make the most out of the holidays.

Being mature and leaving differences aside to get the best possible outcome of family matters during the holidays is the best route to go, but you might end up needing a family lawyer Calgary involved if the situation cannot be resolved amicably.

Regardless, it is important to have a family lawyer close by so you can always know what you are entitled to and what you aren’t as well, so you do not end up wanting to do something you will not be able to.

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