Start Making Holiday Parenting Plans Now
If you are a divorced, separated, or unmarried parent, holidays can present a number of rather unique challenges. In most families, holidays are a time for getting together with loved ones, many of whom have not seen one another in some time—possibly since the same holiday last year. Of course, parents want their children to be part of the festivities and to visit with family members who may have traveled a great distance for the occasion. If you are subject to a court-approved parenting plan, however, it may take some negotiation to figure out where your children will be spending the holidays.
Do Not Wait
While it may not seem possible, Thanksgiving is just a few short days away. This means that you and your child’s other parent should not delay in making plans regarding your holiday parenting time. The first thing you should do, however, is to check your parenting plan document, as many such plans contain a holiday parenting time schedule created years in advance to reduce confusion. If your plan does not include a holiday schedule or provides that you will negotiate a reasonable agreement each year, it is time to start preparing for winter holidays.
Prioritize and Compromise
While many families will get together quite often, including on commonly-celebrated holidays, certain holidays are more “important”—for lack of a better word—than others to some families. For example, your family may prioritize your Christmas or Hanukkah traditions while the other parent’s family traditionally places a greater emphasis on Thanksgiving or New Year’s Day. If your respective priorities allow you, develop a plan that provides your child to be a part of each of the important celebrations.
If you and your child’s other parent wish to celebrate the same holidays, you will need to be a little more creative. You may need to plan for half-days with each parent so that your child can participate with each family. Alternatively, if your extended family is amenable, you may even consider scheduling your celebration for the day before or the day after the actual holiday to facilitate your parenting time situation.
Whatever agreement that you and the other parent are able to reach, it will be important for you to remain respectful and civil with one another. Holiday get-togethers can be unpredictable so if the other parent is supposed to drop your child off at a certain time, but is a little bit late, avoid ruining the spirit of the holiday by overreacting. Of course, if it is a pattern of behavior, it can be addressed at a later time, but in the moment, do not let a minor inconvenience become a major point of contention.
Call a Family Lawyer for Help
If you would like to learn more about developing a parenting plan to accommodate your family’s holiday celebrations, contact an experienced Kane County parenting time attorney. Call 630-665-7300 for a confidential consultation at MKFM Law today.