Navigating Divorce during the Holidays:  A Guide To A Civil Season

Next week is Thanksgiving, which will officially kick off the 2015 Holiday Season.  Holidays are stressful for every family and especially so for families going through divorce, separation or child custody disputes.  Even if you and your partner are not on good terms, there are some ways to mitigate the impact on yourself and your children.  If you or your spouse/former spouse have received an order from the court stipulating child custody or support for the holidays, please review it with an attorney.  Many custody agreements stipulate holidays and visitation times.

[youtube height=”HEIGHT” width=”WIDTH”]Link[/youtube]

  1. Makes a List of what holiday events and traditions are important to you.

There will be a lot of opportunities over the next two months to make very special and enjoyable memories for you and your family.  Try and plan ahead so your Christmas Eve party does not become a family feud.  Make a list of the important dates and times that you want to focus on so you have an idea what is worth fighting over.  Some families have large gathering on Christmas Eve or a big Christmas Dinner.  If you have young children, Christmas morning might be your hold card.

  1. Approach your Partner First

No one wants to have the uncomfortable conversation of who gets the kids and when.  It is important to make the attempt early before the stress begins to get overwhelming.  This first move also gives you an advantage as your partner has likely not planned out his/her priorities and may give you an edge on getting what times are most important.

  1. Leave Room for Negotiation

Understand that your partner may be as interested in seeing your kids open their presents or having Thanksgiving with them as much as you do.  Be open to compromise, without sacrificing your own happiness.  Meal times can be adjusted and arrangements made to accommodate both parties.  Also talk to your children and see what is important to them, it might surprise you how mature and thoughtful they can be.

  1. Try not to Project Your Own Feelings

Children are professionals at observing their environments.  Before they could talk or understand words they were watching your body language and responding to the tone of your voice.  Try to be positive, if not for your own emotional health, do it for theirs.  Avoid having arguments with your partner in front of them, even if it is over the phone.  Keep your sarcasm and comments to a minimum.  With that in mind, be up front about plans for the holidays, give them plenty of time to digest the information and they will be more comfortable when the day comes.

  1. Enjoy Yourself …… Responsibly

No matter the circumstances, it is best to focus on the holiday and not the divorce.  Child support, custody disputes and all the rest of the grisly details can wait until January.  Surround yourself with supportive friends and family and try to make time for yourself.  That being, said try and make smart decisions.  Many times a DUI, or emotional argument will be brought up with the judge in court.  Keep your text and posts on social media positive.  Your humility and grace will pay big dividends later.  This is the season for giving, being thankful and most of all, family.  Life doesn’t always deal a fair hand, but you can choose which cards to play.

Happy Holidays from the Law Office of Massey & Duffy, PLLC.  If you or your loved ones are experiencing a divorce during the holidays, please call our office at (352) 505-8900 for a consultation today.

Top Florida Personal Injury Blogs

$5 Million Settlement for Attack at Florida Nightclub – Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner

On New Year’s Eve, a 22 year old student was punched in the face by a bouncer, which led to a cracked skull and 3 months in a coma.  The owners of the now defunct Cameo night club on South Beach have paid a $5 million settlement, the maximum limits of their insurance coverage.  The victim’s father, who filed the lawsuit on his behalf has since had to help his son learn to walk, talk and perform other daily routines due to his injury.  The Court ruled that the club was ultimately responsible for the patron’s safety.  Under the principle of respondeat superior, employers are responsible for the action of their employees.  The bouncer has since been charged with felony battery.


Slip-and-Fall Injury Verdict in Negligence involving “Mode of Operation” – By Dean Freeman

One of the most difficult aspects of a slip and fall case, is proving that the defendant had actual or constructive knowledge of a potential hazard.  This is required by Florida Statute § 768.0755 and is the primary component of any premise liability suit.  One was to prove constructive knowledge is to establish that the defendant had a particular “mode of operation” that clearly created an environment which made the hazard foreseeable, and in turn, preventable.  Examples of this are self-serve drink fountains, which could regularly cause wet floors around the station or retailers who arrange their clothing racks close together, creating a potential trip and fall hazard.  Victims of premise negligence and liability accidents, should take pictures of their clothing and the area around the accident to establish evidence of potential “mode of operation” claim.


Gun Store Held Responsible – by Matthew Dolman

In Wisconsin, a gun store was held liable in a case where they failed to adequately prevent an illegal firearm sale to a person under the age of 21.  In 2009, an 18 year old male used a handgun to shoot two Milwaukee police officers after they stopped him on his bicycle.  The perpetrator bought the handgun from a gun store by paying a “straw man” to accompany him during the purchase.  During the purchase, both the 18 year old and the “straw man” verbally discussed who would be the owner of the firearm, which should have aroused reasonable suspicion to the sales clerk.  Since the incident, both the shooter and his “straw man” have received prison sentences in their roles in the crime.  The gun store has since been linked to over 500 firearms used in various crimes ranging from armed robbery to murder.  The gun store owner has since surrendered his firearms sales license to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms rather than pursue costly litigation to retain it.


A Quick Look At How Settlement Amounts Are Usually Determined – Bernard F Walsh

In Florida, if you have been injured in an accident and are determined that the other party is liable, you may be able to seek compensation for Medical Bills, Lost Wages, Pain & Suffering, and in some cases, punitive damages.  Many cases can be settled out of court, but others may require months or longer to be determined.  During the process, you may need continued medical attention, be out of work, or suffer immense stress caused by your accident.


Florida Leads The Country in Pedestrian Injuries – By Lynette Monem

Florida ranks 3rd highest in pedestrian fatalities nationwide.  Orlando tops the list of most deadly US cities for pedestrian accidents, Tampa ranks #2 and Jacksonville comes in at a close 3rd most deadly in the United States.  Many factors are to blame, increased cellphone usage while driving, heavy pedestrian traffic in large tourist destinations, perfect Florida weather makes walking, biking and running popular activities.  It is important to be vigilant as a pedestrian and motorist, especially in dense urban areas.  Florida law requires operators of motor vehicles to stop at all pedestrian crossings, regardless of the traffic signal.  Children are especially vulnerable.  Observe posted speed limits in residential areas and around parks where children are likely to play.  Attention to your surroundings may be the difference that saves a life.


Gainesville Personal Injury Attorneys – Massey & Duffy, PLLC

Whether you have been involved in a Slip & Fall, Premise Negligence, Auto Accident or other personal injury accident, the attorneys at Massey & Duffy are here to serve you.  Our firm has represented clients for the last 17 years against major retailers, insurance companies, private businesses, and government entities.  We will help you navigate through your medical treatment, insurance claim and settlement negotiations.  If you have been injured, Florida law may limit the amount of time you have to seek medical attention and file a claim.  Please do not delay and Call Us Today at (352) 505-8900 for your Free Consultation.

Florida Noncompete Agreement

Below is a sample noncompete agreement. However, the laws have changed (and are constantly changing in this area) so do not use this form without proper legal advice. If you are involved in a noncompete issue, you really need to hire an attorney.


This Agreement dated as of ___________, 2005 is made and entered into between ____________, a Florida Corporation (AEmployer@) and_______________(AEmployee@).

WHEREAS, the Employer has offered to employ or to continue to employ Employee on certain favorable terms and conditions, which offer is expressly conditioned upon, among other things, Employee=s agreement to adhere to, among other things, the various covenants and agreements contained in this Agreement;
WHEREAS, the Employer, has or will expend considerable time, energy and funds properly training and educating Employee in all phases of the business;

WHEREAS, Employee acknowledges that Employer has legitimate business reasons for protecting it proprietary information, customer lists, and customer relationships and that the provisions of this Agreement are necessary for this protection. Employee further acknowledges and agrees that these provisions will not and do not place an undue hardship on Employee=s ability to earn a livelihood;
In consideration of the mutual covenants and conditions herein contained and their performance, Employer and Employee agree as follows:

  1. Employment. Employer employs and continues to employ Employee, subject to the direction of Employer. This agreement shall not be construed as modifying the employment at will status of Employee and Employee may continue to be terminated, at will, with out without cause, in accordance with Florida law. Employee understands that nothing in this Agreement requires Employer to retain or promote Employee.

  2. Non-Compete/Non-Disclosure/Non-Solicitation. Employee agrees that during the term of his/her employment and for two (2) years after the termination of his/her employment, Employee shall be prohibited from competing with Employer and working in the same or a substantially similar business nationwide. During that time, Employee agrees not to directly or indirectly, solicit, induce, or attempt to solicit, any of Employers= customers, suppliers or business contacts for any purpose. Finally, during that time, Employee agrees not to directly or indirectly solicit or attempt to solicit any person known to be an employee of Employer to terminate his/or her employment with Employer. Finally, Employee agrees to maintain strictly confidential all recipes, preparation techniques, or other information relating the formulation and/or preparation of Employer=s products.

  3. Return of Documents, Files and Materials. Employee agrees, upon termination of his employment with Employer, to return all files, documents, or other property of Employer. Employee is not entitled to retain copies of any Employer documents.

  4. Rights and Remedies upon Breach. If Employee breaches the terms of this Agreement, Employee agrees that the Employer shall have the right and remedy to specifically enforce this Agreement and each of the covenants contained herein. Employee further agrees that any breach or threatened breach of the terms of this Agreement could cause irreparable injury to Employer and that money damages would not provide an adequate remedy at law to the Employer. In any action seeking to enforce this Agreement, the prevailing party shall be entitled to recover all reasonable attorneys= fees, costs and expenses including any expert fees that were incurred in connection with any such action.

  5. Severability. Employee acknowledges that the covenants within this agreement are reasonable and valid. Should a court determine that any of the covenants contained herein are not reasonable or valid, the remainder of this agreement and its covenants shall not be affected and shall be given full effect without regard to the invalid provisions.

  6. Governing Law. This Agreement shall be construed in accordance with Florida law. The parties agree that venue for enforcement of this Agreement will be in Broward County, Florida.

  7. Entire Agreement. This Agreement represents the entire agreement of the parties with respect to the subject matter contained herein and shall supersede all prior contracts, arrangements or undertakings between the parties. This Agreement may not be modified except in a agreement in writing signed by Employer and Employee.

  8. Voluntary Agreement. Employer and Employee agree that both parties have had an opportunity to read this Agreement and consult with legal counsel re: the terms contained herein. The parties agree that they are entering into this Agreement freely and voluntarily without any duress or undue pressure.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have signed this Agreement on the day and year written below.