Janice Roven Presents: You’ve Made It Through The Holidays. Now What?

Janice Roven, founder of the Roven Law Group, became involved in the area of family law because of her own very unfortunate custody battle.

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You made it through the holiday season… now what?

Your children celebrated Christmas twice or their 16 candles lit for Chanukah. Your ex-spouse traveled with the children and now one of them has COVID. Now what? It’s important to acknowledge that you’ve made it through the holiday season. This is probably the hardest time of the year. So, congratulations, you made it through! Now is the perfect time to check-in with yourself with respect to how you want to move forward. Were you able to work through scheduling changes with your ex? Were there parts of the schedule that did not work for the children? While your children were with your ex, should you have gone away for some down time?

With the arrival of the new year and the passing of the holiday season, here are some suggestions for you to contemplate:

  • If you are still in the middle of negotiations regarding access time with the children, perhaps it’s time to regroup and have a strategy conversation with your attorney. Do you want to keep fighting? Do you want to attempt to use the holiday good will to see if a resolution could work for you and your family? What worked over the holiday and what did not?
  • If you already have an agreement, does it make sense to make some changes? If you signed the agreement when your children were three and five, and now they’re 11 and 13, there are probably significant changes that would be in the best interest of the children. Do you want to formalize those changes?
  • With COVID ever-present, are you and your ex-spouse in agreement regarding the precautions that should be taken?

Please understand that trying to negotiate a deal or agreement with your soon-to-be ex-spouse does not mean you are giving up. It does not mean that you are losing. It also does not mean that your ex has “won.” It could mean that you have chosen to place your energies toward something other than fighting. There is nothing wrong with changing your strategy.

Golda Meir, who was the Prime Minister of Israel, had a very famous saying which I have transformed into a statement that I use often when counseling my clients. “When you love your children more than you hate your spouse or ex-spouse, there will be peace.” Maybe the holiday season has given you this peace, maybe not.

If you realize you hate your ex just as much after the holiday season and you wish to keep fighting, then so be it. But take the time to reflect on what it is you want. Remember, even when you are speaking with your lawyer about strategy, the question should always be, “what is your goal?” Not “what is your lawyer’s goal?” or “what is his/her goal for you?”

You must articulate what is important to you. Remember, when the case is over, and it will be over, your lawyer will go home to his or her family. You and your ex will be left to pick up the broken pieces of your own family, which could be further destroyed by the litigation process. Whatever you decide, it is critical that the resounding theme is the best interest of the child(ren), which hopefully should always align with your interests.