Sharing custody can be difficult at the best of times. It can be hard to schedule, coordinate, travel, and more. When the holiday season comes around, these complications can get worse.
If you’re finding it difficult to share your kids with their other parent, it may be time to review your parenting plan. Courts and couples make these plans depending on what’s happening at the time. As lives change and kids get older, the original plan may become irrelevant.
Here are some ways you can tweak your parenting plan to better manage the holidays.
Designate Holidays Permanently
One solution to the holiday hassle is creating a permanent schedule. For instance, you can decide that every year, the kids will spend Thanksgiving with one parent and Christmas with the other. Solutions like these can be extra helpful when parents are far apart. It makes scheduling much easier since everyone knows what to expect each year.
Swap Holidays Annually
Another sound option, especially for major holidays, is to swap every year. The kids spend one holiday with Parent A and the other with Parent B. Next year, they switch. People tend to do this for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Chanukah, Passover and major holidays.
Working Around Weekends
When it comes to holidays, weekends pose a problem. Some events always occur on weekends, like Father’s Day or Easter. Other holidays move around the calendar every year, meaning that they will eventually fall on weekends.
Some people are strictly “weekend parents.” They get the kids on Saturday and Sunday, and they cherish this time. Living this way also creates a stable, consistent schedule that’s easy to follow. This can get disrupted when important days fall on weekends.
Co-parents can handle weekends in ways that are similar to the options above.
Stabilize Weekends, No Matter What
For some parents, it’s simply easier to keep the weekend schedule consistent. If important holidays fall on the weekend, they don’t disrupt the pattern. These parents find other ways to celebrate Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, etc. This option is particularly helpful for special needs kids who have a difficult time adjusting to changes in their routines.
Allow for Weekend Exceptions
Some families may have the freedom and fluidity to change their schedules. Weekend dads can relinquish the kids for Mother’s Day, and so on.
How to Alter Your Parenting Plan
You most always have the freedom to renegotiate and change your plan when needed. Afterward, you must submit your new plan to the courts to have it turned into an “Order”. Remember, the parenting plan is a legal document, and you can face consequences for breaking it. You need a record that the plan has changed to protect all parents involved.
If you choose to work out a new plan with your ex, make sure to run it by an attorney before submitting it. They can look it over and make sure you didn’t miss any crucial steps. They can also help offer ideas if you hit a roadblock. They can add proper language to make it a binding agreement.
Co-parents who find it difficult to work together could benefit from mediation. They will meet with a neutral legal professional, someone who essentially works for both of them. This person can help keep the conversation moving, and they can calm the talks when they get heated.
Our firm can help you work on a new parenting plan that is specific to the needs of your family. To schedule a free consultation, use our online contact form. You can also call us now at (619) 304-8499.