Your marriage is over. The divorce is final (or almost final). You’ve worked out a parenting plan. But you just can’t seem to shake the bugger from your life once and for all. Even if he or she is the one who initiated the divorce and moved out, old habits die hard. Don’t be surprised if your ex comes calling or finds new ways to annoy you during the holiday season.
1. Tagging along.
“Since you’re ordering holiday cards, will you add 20 or 30 to your order for me?” Makes sense, right? You’re putting a picture of your kids on the card. You’re generically signing the card “The Whatever-Your-Last-Name-Is.” It’s a universal family card, right? Except you’re not family anymore. And you’re done doing his or her work.
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2. Being lazy.
“Can you buy a few gifts for the kids and I’ll pay you for them? You know what they like.” Yes, you do know what the kids like – and their other parent should know too. You may be tempted to help out in this department because you don’t want irrelevant junk in your house that the kids will never touch, or you would rather your kids not be disappointed by their other parent’s utter lack of knowledge about them. Tread carefully.
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3. Stealing your thunder.
“I couldn’t help it – they deserve a treat after such a tough year!” If you’ve just divorced, you are in a tricky spot. Money is probably tight, but you want to give the kids a great holiday nonetheless. Sure, you might not be able to go to Harry Potter World this Christmas, but maybe in a few years. You sure are going to buy your child that authentic wand from Diagon Alley anyway. But then your ex shows up with plane tickets, hotel reservations, and a completely unwelcome and inconvenient announcement that he or she is footing the bill to take the little fans to Hogwarts, their dream destination.
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4. Stealing your time.
“My plans have changed – let’s swap the kids on these dates.” Even if you’ve already agreed upon where the kids will be on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and New Year’s and everything in between, and you’ve made plans accordingly, your ex may very well chime in at the last minute to try to switch things up in his or her favor.
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5. Playing the family card.
“But my parents really want to see the kids.” If the casual “my plans have changed” line doesn’t work, your ex may resort to begging or throwing a low blow in an effort to get what he or she wants from holiday time with the kids. Except, if you’re the custodial parent you probably know full well that your kids don’t want to spend more time than usual with their mostly distant parent and their family. Stand firm.
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“Can I celebrate with you? I don’t really have anywhere else to go.” So let’s get this straight. He or she wanted out of the marriage. They may have even had another relationship going on the side. But suddenly they want to be with you on the most emotion-packed days and nights of the season? It’s enough to make any divorced person wish for the holidays to be over and done with so a better new year can begin, and stat.
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Is your ex really causing problems, defying your parenting time agreement, or being a financial Scrooge? Contact a divorce attorney at Femminineo Attorneys, PLLC in Mt. Clemens, Michigan, to make sure your divorce agreement is being properly honored, and to find out what steps you need to take if the settlement is being violated.