Holidays can be stressful for a family after divorce, especially for the children. Here is why putting a parenting holiday schedule in place will help everyone involved enjoy the time with their family.
Dividing a child’s time between parents is part of every divorce settlement. One arrangement could be that one parent has the kids during the week; the other gets them on weekends. But what about holidays and other extended school breaks? If you need to draft a parenting plan, it should include your parenting holiday schedule. Follow these tips from our family law attorneys at Casais & Prias to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Why Is A Parenting Holiday Schedule Important?
The ultimate goal of creating this schedule is to make the child as comfortable as possible during any transitions between parents. Other goals include:
- Ensuring stability and security for the child
- Minimizing disruptions and loss for the child
- Shielding the child from conflict
- Maximizing the relationships between the child and the parents
- Anticipating and planning for changes in circumstances
In Florida, the courts use the term parental responsibility instead of child custody to denote the equal responsibility each parent has in decision-making for the child. When creating a parenting holiday schedule, it is important that both parents are involved in the process.
There are many ways to approach a parenting holiday schedule, and it is up to the parents and the court to decide which is best for the child and the parents’ schedules. Here are some ways that families choose to split their time.
With an alternating parenting holiday schedule, a child would spend a holiday with one parent one year and the other parent the next year. This schedule works best if holidays are equally important to each parent.
Fixed Holiday Schedule
If Thanksgiving is more important to one parent and Christmas is more important to the other, for example, you could choose to have the child spend each Thanksgiving with one parent and each Christmas with the other parent. This method works well for establishing traditions with each side of the family and lets the child know what to expect every year.
If a parent’s job allows for floating time off, they could choose to use these days for unexpected circumstances such as a child’s sick day, doctor’s appointments, or days off of school for teacher in-service.
Details Are Important
Keep these details in mind when creating your schedule. They may seem insignificant but dotting all your i’s and crossing your t’s will make sure there is no need for either party to conciliate later.
Be specific about time – Include exact times that each parent will start and end their time-sharing. For example, one parent will have the child from 5:00 PM Friday until 5:00 PM Monday.
Be specific about transportation – Who is authorized to transport the child, what happens if a parent is late, etc.
Be specific about total days – Plan out the year so that the total number of days, when split between parents, equals 365. This information may be used to determine child support.
The bottom line is we all want the well-being of the child to be front and center. Creating and maintaining a parenting holiday schedule is the best way to minimize any stress that can come from a time-sharing situation.
When you need help with your parenting plan or have any questions that our family law attorneys can answer, please contact us. We are here to help.