It’s difficult for families to decide how to split holidays when they separate. Neither parent or family want to experience their holidays without their children. So, what do you do? What are your options? On this week’s #FamilyFriday article, the attorneys of ERA Law Group, LLC discuss various options for developing a fair and reasonable access schedule.
First, as previously discussed in a #FamilyFriday article, Parenting Plans are a great tool to discuss and resolve these issues before the stress and onset of the holiday season. As a reminder, Parenting Plans encourage parents to focus on the needs of their children, how best to co-parent, and how to anticipate and/or address the various changes in their lives at the time of its creation and in the future. Attorneys and mediators can help you create a Parenting Plan that best suits your family dynamic and situation. For example, perhaps both parents are adamant about wanting to spend Christmas with their children. The fact of the matter is that the children can only wake up once on Christmas morning and how to decide who will experience that can raise a lot of emotion. One way to resolve this is to alternate years so that one parent has the full Christmas holiday on even years and the other during odd years. Another way to resolve this is one parent has the children Christmas Eve through Christmas morning and the other has the children from mid-Christmas morning for the remainder of the day. These types of arrangements are best to be discussed outside of the courtroom as they can involve a lot of detail and negotiating.
Second, talk with the other parent and see if maybe certain holidays are more important to them than they are you. Creating a schedule or agreement that allows for each parent to have or enjoy the days that are important to them in exchange for those that are important to you can settle future disputes. For example, perhaps it’s your family tradition to go “big” for Thanksgiving but less so for Christmas. Maybe you can agree that you’ll have the children for Thanksgiving and the other parent on Christmas.
Third, though uncommon, if you and the other parent are able to co-parent and share some or all holidays that could resolve any disagreement about who should have the children and when. This can be difficult depending on the relationship between you and the other parent.
Fourth, alternating holidays so that, for example, the parent who does not have the children on Thanksgiving will have them for Christmas or the parent who does not have the children Memorial Day Weekend will have them Labor Day Weekend.
Regardless of the arrangement, always place agreements in writing. This allows both parents to be held accountable for upholding the arrangement and preventing an issue in the future. Try and deal with these potential and likely issues before they become bigger issues.
If you need assistance or would like to explore Mediation or Parenting Plans, contact ERA Law Group, LLC attorney Valerie E. Anias, Esq. at (410) 919-1790 and ask about the FREE 30 MINUTE CONSULTATION.