Dear Jennifer, My wife and I are divorced with children and we are trying to renegotiate visitation. Trouble is that she wants me to agree to let her have them on Christmas day AND Thanksgiving day every year. The upside is that if I agree to let her have those days she will agree to let me have two extra days with them every month throughout the year. Obviously the more time with them the better but I feel as though they will resent me or not understand why I don’t spend those days with them. Am I looking a gift horse in the mouth here or am I right to worry? Papa Bear in St Clair Dear
Papa Bear, I can understand your dilemma, you want to spend those special days with your children, exactly as they are on the calendar. However, I think that ultimately you need to ask yourself, is it worth celebrating those two holidays on those exact days and giving up almost a month worth of days with them in exchange? These days, people are busier than ever and it’s become more and more common to celebrate holidays on other days to accommodate everyone’s schedule even in normal circumstances. Typically, children are usually not as concerned with the actual day the holiday is celebrated on as long as the holiday is in fact celebrated. I don’t know your children; however, I’m guessing that so long as you are celebrating with them and they understand when it will happen they won’t take issue with it. My advice is to consider accepting the extra days and use those days to make even more memories with your children. As to the holidays, you could always make your own fun traditions with your children that they will look forward to far more than a date on the calendar.
Dear Jennifer, My husband and I both work at a hospital system in Birmingham, an arrangement I’ve enjoyed up until three weeks ago. He left his laptop open on his emails, and I noticed some messages from a nurse at work that I felt were inappropriate. This prompted me to do some digging and I found out that he has been cheating on me for at least six months with this girl. When I confronted him he acted like it was a one time thing and not something I need to worry about again because she got transferred to another hospital. He acted like it wasn’t a big deal. Well, it is a big deal to me! He told me to trust him, but I don’t know if I can ever trust him again as bad as I want to. Am I crazy to trust him again? Can a cheater really change or should I deliver a lump of coal in his stocking this year in the form of divorce papers? Betrayed in Birmingham
Dear Betrayed, My heart goes out to you because I’ve seen too many times how devastating the effects of cheating can be on a marriage, your confidence, and your trust in your spouse in general. As it’s obvious that you love your husband and want this to work, I have a suggestion. Even though I’m a divorce lawyer, I firmly believe marriage is sacred and I would advise you as I do all my clients–you should seek counseling first to see if there is something there which can be saved. If he’s unwilling to go with you and fight for your marriage then you have your answer. If he does go with you, he obviously needs to show some real remorse for what he has done, needs to understand how he hurt you, and give you some sort of real assurance that it won’t happen again. Counseling should also help you get to the bottom of why he did what he did and it will either make your marriage stronger going forward or you will come to the realization that it is time to let go. Just remember that you only get one shot at this life and you deserve to be happy. Whether that happiness is because of his presence or absence is something only you can decide. Good luck and God bless.
Jennifer G. Rose is the founder and lead attorney at The Rose Law Firm LLC. One of only a handful of certified family law specialists in the state, Jennifer and her firm have won dozens of awards for their work in the field. Those wishing to reach her may call 205-323-1124 24 hours a day or visit rosefamilylaw.com. Her firm gives complimentary initial consultations in person.