A child’s first visit to Disney World is… well…magical. There are really no other words to describe the experience. As an adult, I find Disney to be amazing. I will often look past the scorching heat, ridiculous crowds, germs, and (minimal) threat of Zika, to bask in the sparkly dreamlike reality that is Disney World. This being said, and not really sure if it’s because of my reputation for being a Disney freak, but we have seen a new growing trend in custody cases – Who gets to take the minor child(ren) to Disney for their first trip? Some parents simply cannot let it go…Here’s a few things to consider when negotiating this:
- The Age of Your child. Just because you want to be the first one to take Belle to meet Gaston in her yellow gown that you ordered from Etsy right after the divorce papers were filed, does not mean that you should take a three month old to Disney just so you can get first dibs on the monumental occasion. There are more and more people who rush this first trip simply to one up the other parent. Their child can’t get on any of the rides. They’re subjected to the humiliating height measuring apparatus in front of all of the other children only to be told that they cannot partake in all of the really fun and enjoyable rides. They end up crying while listening to the torture that is the Tikki Room while you’re happy simply because you got the “first trip to Disney.” In this situation, was it really worth it? Perhaps you two should negotiate an agreement as to when is the appropriate time and age of your child’s first trip.
- The reality of taking Your Child while still being able to afford your financial obligations. Disney is expensive. If you don’t know this, you’ve obviously never been to the best place on Earth. There are plenty of free things you can do to save money, but the kids want none of that. Having the full experience requires moolah. If you’re not meeting your obligations in your Divorce Decree, or previous Order, like paying child support, alimony, or attorney’s fees, but you’re forking out the dough to grace the magical main street of Disney World, you might just be petty. You should always meet your obligations before trying to be the parent to race to Disney first.
- Your Child. So, you may not have noticed, but there’s been a tiny theme throughout this blog. That theme is the following: You should always put your child first in any and all contested cases. Stop and think, am I doing this because I think it’s what is best for my child, or because I want some sort of revenge? Is it really best to race off to Disney to get back at your ex? Is it a good idea to mention your negotiations to your child (Oh, I’d love to take you to Disney next year, but daddy is their newest villain, Dr. Dream Destroyer)? Is your child a pawn in a game you’re playing? Our firm is very child oriented, and we often feel like parents will lose the focus on their child when they’re angry at their ex. It’s easy to do when your child is so small and your ex’s ego is so big… but don’t forget that they’re always watching, listening, and feeling what you’re putting out there. Don’t let the happiest place on Earth turn into a tumultuous memory. (I used to love Disney until I got the plague when mom took me as a two-year-old to keep Dad from being the first one to take me.) (I hate Disney because we lost our house since Dad decided to spend three months of mortgage payments on a weeklong vacation just to spite my mother. Now, me, my six siblings, and Mom are living in what Mom calls a tiny house, but it’s actually an RV that is broken down in a trailer park.)
Overall- Your child’s first Disney trip could be something very important to you. Remember to cover this while you’re negotiating, and make sure you resolve it without involving your child in the battle.