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Mother’s Day in your post-divorce, co-parenting world

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Mother’s Day is rapidly approaching, and if this is your first one after your divorce or separation, it could be bittersweet. If you thought to include a clause in your parenting agreement that the children spend the day with you despite any other scheduled visitation with the other parent, and vice versa on Father’s Day, then you will most likely get to spend that time with your children.

However, if you are like others here in Texas, you probably outlined a schedule for the major holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and summer break, but you may not have addressed holidays like Mother’s Day. As you review your custody agreement in advance of the holiday, which falls on Sunday, May 10 in 2020, you discover that the children’s father has them that day. What happens now?

Honor your child custody agreement

As difficult as it may be, you are obligated to honor the agreements made in your child custody order. When the judge approved your custody agreement and parenting plan, it became enforceable through the courts. This means your former spouse does not have to let you have the children on Mother’s Day, but it also means you don’t have to let him have them on Father’s Day.

Depending on your relationship with your co-parent, you may request a change to the schedule, but without seeking approval from the court for that change, it isn’t enforceable. Moreover, even if your ex agrees this year, that does not mean he will next year, and so on. In any case, you have an obligation to follow the order established during your divorce.

The day doesn’t have to be a total loss

Even if you can’t spend Mother’s Day with your children, that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate during the next time you have the children. They may still have the ability to contact you to let you know they are thinking about you. Moreover, you could take this day to pamper yourself in a way that you would not ordinarily do. Find something to do that makes you happy.

If you don’t want to go through this again

If you want to make sure you can spend Mother’s Day with your children in the future, you could request a modification to your current agreement. The caveat, however, is that even if your former spouse agrees to give you Mother’s Day if he gets Father’s Day, it still requires court approval. You can submit your modification request, along with the changes you and the other parent agreed upon, to the court. If the court approves, you can look forward to spending this day with your children next year.

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