Is Your Visitation Agreement Ready for the Holidays?
With Halloween now a fading memory, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years are just around the corner. Virtually everyone looks forward to spending at least part of holidays with family members and loved ones. For divorced, separated, or never-married parents, however, it can be challenging to come up with a plan that ensures the children get the holiday experience they deserve while recognizing the rights and reasonable desires of each parent.
Check Your Custody Order
Depending on the type of legal guidance you had while developing your existing custody or visitation agreement, you may already have a plan in place for the holiday season. Some orders specifically list each holiday that is important to either or both parents and designates a method for sharing parenting time, based on each particular family’s situation. For example, in your family it may be best to each spend half the day with your child on holidays you have determined to be major holidays, such as Christmas, while holidays that are less important to your family may be alternated.
Make a Plan in Advance
Many custody orders, especially arrangements that are more informal, do not specifically address holiday parenting time. If this is the case in your situation, it is important to develop a plan early and keep your children informed of what will be happening. Depending on their age and maturity level, you may even seek their input on what they would like to do. Planning early can be extremely helpful, since it will give everyone time to make holiday arrangements in such a way that visiting time with extended family and friends can be maximized.
Understand That Things Happen
As the holidays approach, you and your child’s other parent need to keep in mind that unexpected circumstances may arise that are nobody’s fault. Winter holidays, by their very nature, are often impacted by severe weather, for example, and if a major snowstorm prevents you from seeing your child on Christmas, try to be reasonably understanding. Likewise, if unforeseen situations afford you extra parenting time, you may be able to offer some type of future consideration to the other parent. Communicate, cooperate, and, most of all, keep your child’s best interest your top priority.
If you have questions about the holiday season and drafting an equitable custody or visitation agreement, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney. Our knowledgeable team understands how difficult the holidays can be for a family affected by divorce or separation, and we can help you take steps to reduce the challenges. Call 630-232-9700 today to schedule an appointment at the Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates.