It’s here again. The time of year when you must sort out the holiday parenting time arrangements for your children.
Of course, it’s best to try to reach an agreement with the other parent. Failing to do so can be costly, both in terms of the emotional strain which often follows, as well as the cost of litigation to resolve any disputes.
Although it can be upsetting to have some holiday traditions disrupted, a parent cannot simply disregard a New Jersey Court Order about parenting time. One mother learned this lesson the hard way, in the recent New Jersey Appellate decision of Tamirie v. Yacob.
In that case, the mother lived in New Jersey and had custody of the parties’ twin daughters. The father lived in California and had court-ordered visitation over the Christmas holidays.
When the father flew in on Christmas Eve, the mother refused to let him see the children. She also prohibited him from speaking to his daughters, either via telephone or webcam, even though this form of communication was expressly allowed by the court.
The father filed a motion with the New Jersey Family Court, to get his parenting time reinstated and to recoup the cost of his air travel and the counsel fees which he had been forced to incur after the mother thwarted his visitation.
The New Jersey Family Court Judge directed the mother to reimburse the father for his $719 airfare and also ordered the mother to pay $4,079 of the father’s counsel fees. The Judge noted that, while the mother’s unemployment prevented her from paying all of the father’s counsel fees, he needed to send a message to the mother that she could not continue to interfere with the father’s parenting time.
The New Jersey Appellate Division denied the mother’s appeal. In its Decision, the Appellate Court quoted the trial judge, who had noted that “the mother has failed to show good faith in that she has been found in violation of litigant’s rights in multiple provisions of multiple orders.”
Not surprisingly, New Jersey Family Courts do not react well when a party violates a Court Order.
Judges expect parties to act in good faith when they interact with each other, especially when there are children involved.
Although it can be difficult and upsetting to share parenting time during the holidays, it is essential that you abide by the Court’s Orders. If the mother in this case had simply done so, she would have saved herself a great deal of time and money.
Salvaggio Law Group LLC devotes its entire practice to New Jersey Divorce and Family Law matters, including issues relating to child custody and parenting time.
If you want to talk, please call us at (973) 455-1220 or fill out the Contact Form on our website.