Should Divorced Parents Spend the Holidays Together With Their Kids?


Divorced ParentsHolidays have a way of bringing out strong emotions in divorced couples as it relates to their children. And often, those emotions may turn into conflict if parents can’t agree on who should have the children and for how long.

In some circumstances, divorced parents may decide to spend the holidays together with their children. We think it’s important for you to understand some of the benefits and drawbacks of this type of arrangement.

Benefits of Divorced Parents Spending The Holidays Together With Their Kids 

Some of the benefits of this time sharing arrangement include:

  • Less Holiday Conflict – Instead of fighting about what time one parent will drop off the child for the holidays, or instead of one parent feeling angry because the child is not going to be present at a holiday celebration, sharing the day with the other parent can lessen conflict and increase harmony.
  • Fosters Future Cooperation – Divorced parents who are able to share the holidays together with their children can set the standard for future compromises in the time sharing agreement.
  • Provides Security For Children – Children can get a sense of well-being and security when they see their parents spending time with them together during the holidays. As long as parents help their children to understandthat they are not reconciling the marriage, the children can feel a sense of comfort and security by spending the holiday with both parents.

Drawbacks of Divorced Parents Spending TheHolidays Together 

Some of the drawbacks of parents spending the holidays together with their childrenmay  include:

  • Kids May Think Their Parents Are Reconciling The Marriage– Seeing their parents spending time together with them at the holidays may lead children to believethat their parents are reconciling the marriage. As a result, children may become disappointed, angry or upset when they realize that the imagined reconciliation was only for the holiday.
  • Parents May Fight– One of the risks of divorced parents spending holidays together with their children is that one wrong statement may trigger a fight about old issues and disrupt the holiday celebration. In fact, teenagers of a divorce are more likely to veto spending a holiday with both parents because they fear that one parent will say or do something that makes the situation tense and uncomfortable.

If you are in a time sharing situation that has gone well, and you have built a strong foundation of mutual respect with your former spouse, then spending the holidays together with your children may be a good idea. Otherwise, creating a specific holiday time sharing schedule may be a better option.

Finding An Advocate

Successful time sharing requires patience, cooperation and discipline, the same qualities necessary to achieve a fair resolution in a divorce. If you are going through a divorce, please call The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire to schedule a confidential consultation.

Additional Reading

What Is My Parental Responsibility After a Florida Divorce?

Do I Need To Take A Divorce Parenting Class In Florida?

How a Detailed Time-sharing Schedule Could Save Your Holiday Season

Time-sharing is one of the biggest challenges parents face after they divorce. Making sure children get equal time with their parents can go a long way toward easing some of the disruption that often occurs during a divorce.

Whether you’re in a situation with shared parental responsibility, or sole parental responsibility, the holiday time-sharing schedule may produce a potential for conflict during this time of year, if it is not detailed adequately within yourparenting plan.


Parents naturally want their children to spend quality with them during the holiday season, and in that desire, they sometimes forget that equal time with both parents is most often in the best interests of the child.

Solet’s take a look at how creating awritten holiday time-sharing schedule, included in your parenting plan, can help resolve a lot of the issues that crop up when your kids are out of school during the holiday season.

What Is a Holiday Time-sharing Schedule? 

A standard time-sharing schedule details how you and the other parent will spend time with your child after a divorce. If you have agreed on shared parental responsibility, then yourtime-sharing schedule, included in the parenting plan, should list which days your child is at your home and which days your child is with the other parent.

It many cases, the time-sharing schedule will also detail how you will handle summer vacation as well as any trips that you or the other parent want to take with your child out of town.

Occasionally, divorcing parents overlook addinga holiday time-sharing schedule, which usually includes:

  • Holiday List for the Year – The holiday time-sharing schedule should include all major holidays during the calendar year from New Year’s Day to Christmas. This can include official holidays as well as other seasonal events such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, Halloween, and birthdays.
  • Times – This details when that holiday starts and ends.
  • Yearly – Parents can decide which holiday the child will spend with a specific parent for each year.
  • Even Numbered Years – Parents can decide which holiday the child will spend with a specific parent on even numbered years.
  • Odd Numbered Years – Parents can decide which holiday the child will spend with a specific parent on odd numbered years.

Some Florida courts may have a printed model holiday time-sharing schedule, but if not, you can create your own. If a Florida court does provide a time-sharing schedule, in most cases, parents may still create their own holiday time-sharing schedule that is tailored to their specific circumstances.

While you may need to adjust the time-sharing schedule during the year, the fact that you already have a working parenting plan/time-sharing schedule to use can be helpful when changes are necessary.

Time-Sharing Is About Your Child 

Although divorce can be one of the most difficult times in a parent’s life, time-sharing should always be about providing your child with a nurturing environment. The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire has over 29 years of experience handling these cases and helping parents achieve that goal. Please call us today at 561-655-8844 to schedule a confidential consultation.

Additional Reading

What Is My Parental Responsibility After a Florida Divorce?

Do I Need To Take A Divorce Parenting Class In Florida?

Why You Need a Timesharing Schedule/ItineraryFor Travel During Holidays With Your Child

travel during holidays with your childWhen time-sharing works, it can help create a nurturing environment for your children that is necessary after a divorce.

But if you don’t have a specific schedule or itinerary for travel during holidays with your child, you can run into trouble.

During the holidays, emotions tend to run higher when both parents want to spend as much quality time as possible with their child, and if there is no schedule in place, conflict is inevitable.

It is important to understand that planning your holiday travel schedule with your child during the divorce process is an effective way to avoid future problems.

What To Include In Your Parenting Plan Regarding Travel During the Holidays 

Your parenting plan agreement should include how you and the other parent will handle time-sharing during holidays and weekends. But it should also include how you will handle travel during the holiday season.

Your travel during the holiday provisions should include:

  • In-state Travel –On which holidays will each parent be able to travel with the child within the state? Where will each parent be going and for how long? In many instances, in-state travel poses less problems between parents than travel out of state or out of the country.
  • Out of State Travel – On which holidays will each parent be able to travel with the child out of state? Where will each parent be going and for how long? Will each parent get a major holiday such as Thanksgiving and Christmas during which they can take the child out of state?
  • International Travel – In most cases, you will need a court order from a family judge or a written consent form to travel out of the country with your child in a time-sharing situation. You can, however, list any future dates in which you would like to take that trip, so that when you do go to court to obtain authorization, the judge will see that you and the other parent previously agreed to the international travel.
  • Travel Itinerary – The traveling parent should provide the other parent with a travel itinerary which includes where and when their child will travel, and provide the other parent with the ability to communicate with their child during the travel timesharing.

By creating a travel holiday schedule, you can provide for your child and other family members involved, a holiday season that is free of conflict.

How a Lawyer Can Help With Your Time-Sharing Schedule 

As you are going through a divorce that involves children, your time-sharing schedule is one of the most important issues in the Parenting Plan that will need to be addressed. And because this is often an emotional issue, hiring an experienced and compassionate family lawyer can help you when it comes to creating a Parenting Plan and Timesharing schedulewith the other parent. The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire has nearly 30 years of experience helping clients create fair and practical time-sharing schedules. Please call 561-655-8844 to schedule a confidential consultation.

Additional Reading

What Is My Parental Responsibility After a Florida Divorce?

Do I Need To Take A Divorce Parenting Class In Florida?

How Grandparents Can Gain Child Custody

The Ultimate Guide For Grandparents Who Want Child Custody

Child custody issues often occur between divorcing parents, but there are some instances in which other family members may want to get involved in this issue.Child Custody

For example, grandparents can seek custody of their grandchildren if the parents of the child are unable to properly care for a child, or if the parents agree to relinquish their custody rights.

Let’s take a look at the types of custody arrangements that are available to grandparents in Florida.

Child Custody Options For Grandparents 

Florida law allows grandparents to seek custody based on whether the child is classified as dependent or non-dependent.

A dependent child is under the care and supervision of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the agency that ensures the safety of minors.

There are four options for grandparents seeking custody of a dependent child:

  • Temporary – Custody that only lasts for a specific period of time
  • Long-Term – Awarded after grandparents have six months or more of temporary custody, and DCF believes it is in the child’s best interests to remain with the grandparents.
  • Court-Ordered – DCF recommends to a judge that the child be placed with the grandparents until the parents are fit to regain custody.
  • Adoption – Grandparents gain permanent custody after the parents renounce their rights or a court takes away their rights.

Grandparents can also seek custody of a non-dependent child, which means the child is not under the care and supervision of DCF, and his or her welfare is not in danger.

There are four options for grandparents seeking custody of non-dependent child:

  • Temporary
  • Timesharing – Allows grandchild to live in grandparent’s house, but the child’s parents can still make major decisions involving the child’s life.
  • Adoption
  • Guardianship – Grandparents can petition to become guardians, which means they have sole parental responsibility of their grandchild until he or she turns 18. However, guardianship is not permanent, because either of the child’s parents could petition for custody before the child turns 18.

The best custody arrangement will always put the child’s best interests first, so grandparents who want custody must decide which option will be least disruptive to their grandchild’s life.

Custody Can Alter a Child’s Life 

We don’t take child custody lightly, because we know how this issue can affect a child for a lifetime. That’s why we are sensitive to all sides in a child custody claim, and our goal is to always do our best to serve a child’s bestinterest. Grandparents who are willing and able to seek custody can provide wisdom and guidance that a child desperately needs. Please call the experienced team  at The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire at 561-655-8844 and schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your case.

Additional Reading:

The Hidden Truth About Child Support Laws

When and How To Modify Child Support In Florida

Will My Child Support Payments Ever End?

If you are a parent paying child support, it may seem like those payments will never end, and that’s especially true if you don’t agree with the amount the court ordered you to pay.

But child support does end, and that completion date may be different depending on the circumstances.

Child Support

Let’s take a look at the factors that affect the termination date of your child support payments, so that you’re aware when your child support responsibilities end.

Situations That Terminate Your Child Support Payments

In 2010, the state of Florida established a law that required every child support order to contain an automatic termination provision that provided the date on which payments would end.

In Florida, child support payments typically end when the child turns 18. However, if the child is older than 18 but still in high school and on schedule to graduate, the child support usually extends until the child graduates.

But if the child is mentally or physically handicapped and unable to live on his or her own, then child support payments will continue until the parent who cares for the child agrees that payments can end. If the parent does not agree to the termination of child support, then the parent who is paying must do so for the rest of that child’s life.  The issue of child support paid to an adult child should be decided by the court, prior to the child reaching majority.

Child support can also end if a child becomes emancipated, which refers to a child who has been granted freedom from parental control before he or she turns 18. Emancipation can only occur through a court order that determines that this arrangement is in the best interests of the child.

How To Legally End Your Child Support Payments 

If you’re paying child support directly to the other parent without the involvement of the state, then you can simply stop sending a check on the termination date

But if your payments are taken directly out of your paycheck by the state, then you must obtain a court order from a judge that stops the automatic withdrawals.

If you fail to do so, the system will continue to automatically deduct the support payments from your account.

Help With Child Support Issues 

The issues involved in a divorce can often become challenging and emotional. Child support issues may become challenging, especially when the parent paying the support disagrees with the amount due. That’s why it is always best, whether you are the parent who is receiving child support, or you are the parent who is paying the support, to hire an experienced family law firm to handle any issues arising out of child support. Eric C. Cheshire has spent nearly 30 years negotiating child support matters, and that experience makes him a powerful advocate for your claim. Please call 561-655-8844 for a confidential consultation.

Additional Reading

The Hidden Truth About Child Support Laws

When and How To Modify Child Support In Florida

Why You Need To Know the Differences Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce

In Florida, any couple that wants a divorce must file a petition for Dissolution of Marriage. If they can agree on all or most major issues, they may sign a Marital Settlement Agreement, that details how they have agreed on all the major issues in the divorce. If children are involved, they may also devise a Parenting Plan, which states the rights and obligations both parents have concerning issues involving shared parental responsibility, timesharing, child support, health insurance, extra-curricular activities, decision making authority and other applicable parenting issues.

However, couples may not always agree on all of the major issues involved in their divorce.


If you’re about to file for a divorce, understanding the differences between a contested and uncontested divorce can help you make an informed decision about the best way to proceed.

What Are the Elements of a Contested Divorce? 

In a contested divorce, a couple is unable to come to an agreement on the major issues of a divorce, which may include the division of assets, spousal support, parental responsibility, timesharing and child support, if children are involved.

As a result, the Court will require the couple to mediate to settle those differences, and if they are still unable to do so, a family court judge will make the final decision on all outstanding issues.

A divorce is referred to as ‘contested’ even if a couple disagrees over one issue, but it is typically easier for a couple to resolve one issue of contention through mediation as opposed to litigating multiple issues that remain unresolved.

What Are the Elements of An Uncontested Divorce? 

In an uncontested divorce, a couple has settled all major issues in a divorce without having to go to court, and presents a Marital Settlement Agreement, and a Parenting Plan, when children are involved, to a judge, who reviews the agreement, and finalizes the divorce.

When children are involved in the divorce process, there are often contentious issues to resolve such as shared parental responsibility, timesharing and child support.  Therefore, making a concerted effort, from both spouses, to devise a practical and fair co-parenting plan, is key to obtaining a successful uncontested divorce.

Because you have worked diligently on compromise and fairness, uncontested divorces tend to move much faster through the court system, especially because you will not have to schedule a court appearance, which can take weeks or months, depending on the court’s docket.

The Benefits of An Experienced Divorce Lawyer 

Divorce issues can range from being amicable and straight-forward, to complex and challenging. Therefore, it is advisable to always seek the representation of a knowledgeable and experienced family lawyer.  The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire, P.A. has extensive experience and unparalleled dedication to our clients who are facing divorce issues. Please call us today at 561-655-8844 to schedule a confidential consultation.

Additional Reading

9 Tips For Great Co-Parenting

What Is My Parental Responsibility After a Florida Divorce?

Getting a Divorce? Time to Update Important Documents

Getting a divorce can be emotionally exhausting. Often, the last thing divorcing couples want to  deal with is the minutia that comes with updating legal documents. However, a failure to update these documents could result in your spouse getting your life insurance policy, or being in charge of your medical decisions.

Divorce In other cases, a failure to update your important documents may lead to considerable delay and future complications which could have been avoided.  Below are some essential documents that require review. Where appropriate, document modifications, reflecting your change in marital status, should occur.

If You Change Your Name after the Divorce

If you legally change your name during the divorce proceedings, you will need to update all identification cards, such as your driver’s license, passport, and possibly your employee badge. You also need to notify the Social Security Administration to obtain a new Social Security card.  Conveniently, the Social Security Administration provides detailed instructions  on their website.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Medical Forms

During the course of your marriage, it is very likely you signed HIPAA forms which authorized the release of medical information to your spouse. Your spouse is also likely listed as the primary contact on other medical forms. Contact your medical providers to change this information.


Employers rely on W-4s when determining federal tax withholding. Given your new, single status, you may want to adjust your withholdings.

All Forms with Beneficiaries

Now is the time to review all financial documents, from bank accounts held in your name only, to life insurance policies, retirement plans, brokerage accounts, and annuities. If you don’t want your now ex-spouse as the beneficiary, you must contact each account and amend the beneficiary information to replace them.

Titles to Property

In many divorces, property is not sold, but rather awarded to one party or the other.  Consider, for example, the family home. Your deed may currently indicate both of you own the home. When the divorce is final and the home becomes yours alone, change the title to reflect this. Failure to do so can complicate, and even delay, transactions in the future.

Your Last Will and Testament

Many couples leave their estates, in whole or in part, to their spouses in their will. Unless this is still your intention, you need to change your will.  This also simplifies things for your desired heirs. A will clearly updated after the divorce makes your intentions indisputably known. This will help avoid potential disputes.

Power of Attorney

If you have a living will and/or power of attorney, these should also be updated to reflect your current choice for who should make life and death decisions on your behalf.  If you still think your now ex-spouse is an appropriate choice, this should be documented. Otherwise, change the decision maker as soon as possible.

Other Accounts

Take a moment to review other accounts the two of you have shared. These include bank accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, etc. Close or update each account, converting it from a joint account to a single owner account.

If You Are Considering Divorce

Divorce can be a painful and challenging time.  Eric C. Cheshire, P.A. has over 29 years of experience, in family practice, including divorce law. Let Attorney Cheshire’s experience work for you.  Contact us at 561-655-8844 for a personal consultation.

Additional Reading

Divorce, Taxes, and Children

Should You Change Your Last Name After a Divorce?

What To Know About Moving Out of State and Child Custody

What happens when a divorced parent wants to move out of state with their child? Obviously, if the other parent agrees, the process is fairly straightforward in terms of explaining to a family court why the move is being made.

There are, however, situations in which a parent wants to move out of state, but the other parent does not agree with the move for one reason or another.

But before diving deeper into this issue, it’s important to remember the distinction between a parent taking a child out of state on a brief trip, and child relocation, which is a permanent move.

After a divorce, Florida law does not require a parent to get the permission of the other parent if he or she wants to take a child out of state for a trip. But if taking the child out of state violates the existing custody arrangement, then the parent would have to get the written consent of their co-parent before he or she could take that child out of state.

In child relocation, however, the move is permanent, which means that the standards are higher for the parent to show that the move would be beneficial for the child.

Here are some of the factors that family court judges will take into consideration when hearing this type of child custody case.

Final Destination Is a Factor For Moving Out of State In Child Custody 

In many states, the destination where the parent wants to move is a major consideration in whether the move will be allowed to happen. The reason is that the further away that the one parent and child are moving from the other parent and other family members, the less ‘beneficial’ that move may be.

Child Custody

That doesn’t mean that judges will not allow a parent to move to a state far away, but it does mean that the parent would have to demonstrate that despite the distance, the move to the new destination is still in their child’s best interest.

The Existing Consent Order Is Another Factor In Moving a Child Out of State 

In some instances, the final divorce decree may include a parental agreement between the parents about instances in which their child could relocate to another state. If such an agreement exists, a judge may take this into strong consideration when deciding whether or not to agree to the move. However, the other parent can still object to the move if he or she believes that the move violates the divorce decree.

Depriving Child of Contact With the Other Parent Is Also a Factor 

Another big factor a family judge will consider when hearing a child relocation case is whether the move would deprive the child of meaningful contact with the other parent.

And in fact, the objecting parent could present evidence of how involved he or she is in their child’s life, and argue that the move (especially if it’s to a far destination) would disrupt that relationship in a way that would be harmful to the child’s well-being.

A judge would be reluctant to allow a move that would negatively impact the relationship between the child and the other parent; however, the parent wanting to move could argue that the benefits of the move (higher wages, lower cost-of-living) outweigh the drawbacks.

Good Faith is An Important Factor 

A parent must provide what is known as ‘good faith’ reasons for moving a child out of state.

Remember that when the parent files a petition to modify a child custody arrangement, he or she must show that a significant change in circumstance triggered the request.

Therefore, the parent making the request must show that the move is not being done on a whim, or to spite the other parent involved.

Good faith reasons would include:

  • A job move with an increase in pay that would provide a better standard of living for the child.
  • A move to a state with a lower cost of living that would also provide a better standard of living for the child.
  • A new marriage that includes a job transfer for the new spouse.

How Judges Make Their Final Decision 

Although every request to move a child out of state has its own challenges, family judges usually focus on a specific set of considerations when making a decision, including:

  • The child’s age and maturity level.
  • How a potential move could negatively affect their child’s relationship with the other parent and other close family members.
  • The financial stability of parent who wants to move with the child.
  • Whether or not the parent has violated the visitation agreement in the past.
  • Special educational or health needs of the child.

A child relocation request is a big issue that can have long-term ramifications for the child, and for the relationship between the parents and other close family members.

Protecting Your Legal Rights

Whether you are a parent with an opportunity to move out of state to improve your earning power, or you are a co-parent who wants to block the other party from moving your child to another state, you will need an experienced family law firm to help you pursue your legal claim.

For more than 29 years, Eric C. Cheshire has been handling complex family law cases, and has earned a reputation as a lawyer who obtains results for his clients. Child custody claims are often difficult to navigate and require the expertise of a seasoned attorney. Please call us today at 561-655-8844 to learn how we can help you.

Additional Reading

Five Child Relocation Considerations and How It Will Affect Child Custody

Time Sharing Modification To Change Parenting Plan for Child Custody

A Divorce Petition Is a Dish Best Served Immediately

After you’ve decided to get a divorce, you have a lot of things to deal with, especially if children are involved.

But the most important first step is for you to legally file the divorce petition, which sets the whole process in motion. However, if this is done incorrectly, you could hurt yourself later in the divorce proceeding for not adhering to the laws regarding divorce filing.


We think it’s important for you to understand how to properly serve a divorce petition, and though the information here is specific to Florida, most states follow the same process.

How To Properly Serve a Divorce Petition In Florida 

Florida law requires you to take the following steps when serving a divorce petition:

  • File a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage Document – this is the official document that informs the court you want to end your marriage.
  • Obtain a Copy of the Summons – after you’ve filed the petition to dissolve your marriage, the court clerk will give you a summons.
  • Take the Summons To a Sheriff Or Special Process Server – you must take the summons to the local sheriff in your area or to a special process server. The clerk can provide you with the location of your local sheriff or a special process server. You must provide them with your spouse’s last known living address and employment address.
  • Ensure That The Sheriff Or Process Server Has Delivered the Summons – the process server must personally hand the divorce summons to your spouse, or to someone who at his or her workplace or residence who is at least 15 years old.

You will receive notice that the summons has been served to your spouse. If you don’t receive this notice, follow up to ensure that the sheriff or process server delivered the summons.

In instances in which your spouse cannot be located, you will have to file a document with the court detailing all the efforts you’ve made to locate your spouse, as well as a document that allows you to publish the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in your local paper once a week for four consecutive weeks.

After that time has passed, a family court judge will finalize your divorce, although you will not be given spousal support or child support (if kids are involved) until you find your spouse.

Divorce Done the Right Way

Divorces can be challenging, which is why you should hire an experienced family lawyer to help ensure that all your rights are protected. Attorney Eric C. Cheshire has spent nearly 30 years helping clients navigate through divorces that range from amicable to hostile situations that require a skilled hand. Please call us today at 561-655-8844 for a confidential legal consultation.

Additional Reading

High Asset Divorce In Florida: Steps To Take and Mistakes To Avoid

7  Things You Should Not Do During Your Divorce in Florida

Handling After School Activities as Divorced Parents

The first school semester your children attend after a divorce can present challenges, because the family dynamic has changed, and a new schedule has replaced your old routine.


Children may feel confused and anxious, wondering how you and your former spouse will handle after school activities, which is why it’s so important for you to implement specific strategies to help make this transition more seamless.

Obtain An After School Activity Schedule After Your Divorce

Obtain the activity schedule for the upcoming school year so that you and your former spouse can plan which events you can both attend, and which events conflict with work commitments.

Make sure that at least one of you attends every activity so that your child will always have one parent present.

Be prepared to change that schedule, however, because your children may tryout for a sport or join another activity later in the year, which will create new demands on your time.

Determine Seating Arrangements 

Not all divorces are amicable, so if there is lingering tension or resentment, it’s best that you and your former spouse figure out where you will sit at specific activities. Inform your former spouse where you will sit, and most importantly, explain to your children where you will be seated so they can find you during the event.

If your divorce was friendly, this may not be an issue and you may actually decide that sitting together is not a problem.

Keep Your Issues Out of the Activities 

Regardless of whether your divorce was amicable or contested, there may still be disagreements between you and your former spouse about certain issues.

Avoid bringing up these issues at your children’s after school activities.

Remember, these events are all about your children, so hashing out disagreements between you and your former spouse should take place in private.

You and your former spouse must determine to keep your feelings about each other, or about some other issue of contention out of the sphere of activities involving your children.

Your children want to see a united family front when they are playing sports, taking part in a school play, or performing in a music recital.

Why You Need A Lawyer In A Divorce

Even amicable divorces require the services of a family lawyer, because no matter how friendly things are, you still need to ensure that your rights are protected. This is especially true when it comes to issues such as child custody and child visitation. You may have worked out an agreement without going to court, but you need a lawyer to review the terms to ensure there are no red flags that could affect you in the future.

The team at The Law Office of Eric. C. Cheshire, PA has been handling all aspects of divorce for more than 25 years. In fact, because we exclusively deal with family law issues, we have the type of expertise you need to obtain the best settlement possible. Please call us today at 561-655-8844 to discuss your case.

Additional Reading

The Hidden Truth About Child Support Laws

9 Tips For Great Co-Parenting