Can the court force my ex-hubby to keep kids for holidays?

Published: Tuesday | December 17, 2013 Comments 0

Q. I have asked my ex-spouse to take the children for the holidays - they are 18 (this child has a disability) and 16 - as I am completing my studies and would like to go away for two weeks to complete the research. He says no because I fought him for them, I should keep them as he already had them the last holidays. I cannot afford to take them with me, and my family cannot afford to take them as they are poor. Can I ask the court to let him take them?

A. You need to call the Family Court or the Child Development Agency to ask questions regarding childcare. You may want to put off your research this month and provide care for your children. There may be feelings of abandonment and you may want to prevent any anger-related concerns. Is it possible for you to pay someone you know and trust to stay at the home with the children? Think through your plans.

Q. I am trying to convince my husband to buy gifts for the children, four and two. He will eat the cake and drinks that we prepare but not participate in gift-giving. I never knew he was so selfish. I am thinking of taking the children elsewhere for the holidays.

A. Going away will not resolve the problem. Show your husband as much kindness as you can and show him love. Get your children gifts and take pictures of them opening their gifts. Make yourself happy and treat yourself to something nice.

Q. My sister has been diagnosed with breast cancer and she refuses to take sick leave and deal with it. It has been six months now. She is weaker, and it is affecting her children, ages nine and five. How can I convince her to take some rest?

A. You may want to ask her doctor or a close trusted member of the family to speak with her. Sit down and pencil out with her how she can use her sick leave and vacation time while coping with this stressor. Your sister will need professional counselling as she may not have accepted the diagnosis.

Orlean Brown-Earle, PhD, is a child psychologist and family therapist. Dr Brown-Earle works with children with learning and behavioural problems throughout the island and in the Caribbean. Email questions to or send to Ask the Doc, c/o The Gleaner Company, 7 North Street, Kingston. Responses to concerns are to be considered as general, as cases shared with psychologists privately would be queried more deeply. Pray always!

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