Peaceful Divorce

Let's start a discussion about pitfalls to avoid during the holiday season. What have you done that has avoided or alleviated tension? How have you overcome a pending challenge? What's your best advice on this subject?

We all can use some fresh perspectives on this season of complex family issues.


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Roz, I love this discussion! I'm going to make it a point to get do a broadcast message to the members asking them to respond to it. What an important conversation!
Yes, this is a real sticky area for many families and too many fall into the same pitfalls year after year. Let's provide some sound advice and new perspectives for:

* interacting with your ex during family events
* sharing the children successfully during "off schedule" parties and activities
* remembering extended family on both sides respectfully
* avoiding competition between exes and other forms of tension
* successfully handling blended family issues
* coping with loneliness and depression -- especially for first year divorcees
* and other related issues!

We can post some of these responses as a press release to provide holiday assistance on a wider basis -- while getting exposure for the PD website.

What Works? Divorced Spouses Reunite for Thanksgiving
Peaceful Divorce in the News (from PEOPLE Magazine Online)

Heather Locklear and ex-husband Richie Sambora are embracing the spirit of Thanksgiving by celebrating the holiday together – along with Locklear's boyfriend – this year.

"Richie and Heather are spending Thanksgiving together with [daughter] Ava," a friend of Locklear's tells PEOPLE. "Jack [Wagner] and a few good friends will also be having dinner with them."

Locklear, 47, and Sambora, 49, split in 2006 after 12 years of marriage, but they continue to be supportive of each other, and to co-parent their 11 year old daughter.

"They may be divorced, but they are raising a little girl they both love very much," a friend of the Bon Jovi guitarist told PEOPLE in June after Locklear sought treatment for depression and anxiety.

"Heather and Richie are very supportive of each other," Locklear's friend adds. "They talk all the time, and anytime Ava has something important happening they are there together. It's going to be a very nice Thanksgiving for everyone."

Sambora, who was a presenter at Sunday's American Music Awards, tells that "everything is really cool," between him and his ex-wife.

It's great to read about people who are working on peaceful co-parenting!
Thanks, Cindy, for reminding us that there are positive role models out in celebrity-land who are responsibly and respectfully co-parenting for the well-being of their children.

It's so important to bring attention to these celebrity parenting relationships because they have such influence on our population. Let's continue to highlight great examples of post-divorce parenting!
Here are some words of wisdom from collaborative attorney Charles Jamieson:

Provide Notice for Vacations, An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Our family law firm has just completed its yearly round of holiday visitation disputes. Preplanning will often prevent disputes over visitation among divorced parents or parents who are separated. The following are some suggestions to minimize conflict and maximize visitation. At the beginning of each year, plan out vacations you wish to take around the major holidays such as spring break, summer, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas. Each family has their own particular individual days they wish to see their children. Those days should also be included in the planning. When doing so, those individuals who are divorced should consult their settlement agreement or final judgment of divorce or separation in order to make sure that they understand clearly the contact schedule for which they have been provided. In addition those individuals should carefully note any pre-notice time period which said agreement or orders require.

Once your planning has been completed, you should communicate in writing outlining your request for contact/visitation for the upcoming year. If contact/visitation is provided for in a specific settlement agreement or court order, you should cite to those particular paragraphs in your visitation communication.

If you receive no objection from the opposing party, then you should follow up your communication in 30 days. Your follow-up communication should state that you have not received any objection or comment on your proposed schedule so you assume that your proposed visitation schedule has been approved.

If you receive an oral objection, then you should immediately communicate in writing to the opposing party when, how, and what was stated when and how you received the objection. You also should state in your written communication what was said during the conversation. The importance of doing this is so you can create a written record to substantiate your communications. Once you have confirmed the oral objection in your written communication, you should take the copies of the correspondence to your attorney and request that your attorney contact the opposing attorney immediately to attempt to resolve this objection. If the objection cannot be resolved through negotiation with the opposing attorney, then you will still have plenty of time in which to bring a motion to obtain your requested visitation.

Generally speaking what happens is that everyone waits until the last minute to declare their visitation schedule. They feel a great amount of frustration and anger when their reasonable requests are objected to or refused. Unfortunately, under such circumstances little can be done by their attorney to have their complaint heard before the appropriate judge prior to the commencement of the visitation.

In summary, to avoid undue expense or emotional turmoil, and eventually missing your visitation with your children, plan ahead, communicate early, document all communications in writing, and communicate early with your attorney. If you follow those steps, then you maximize your chances for obtaining the visitation that you desire and which your children richly deserve.

Great reminders to keep the holidays peaceful!
Thanks for the great insight from Charles Jamieson. Obviously timing is a crucial factor in creating happy endings for holiday and vacation requests. Let's all be resources to remind our clients and other contacts about the value of planning well ahead.


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