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The holidays and your parenting plan

23802365_S.jpgIf you have completed your divorce in the Columbia area and are now getting used to your child custody arrangement or parenting plan on a day-to-day basis, you should note that the first of a string of holidays is coming up soon. Halloween arrives this weekend, and it may be your first experience with your children and dealing with the realities of shared child custody.

Perhaps Halloween is listed in your parenting plan and you knew well in advance that you would have your child or children or that they would be with their other parent. This can help, as it eliminates the small shock that may strike you if this holiday is treated as just another weekend in your plan. 

 

Not taking your children trick or treating may not be a significant issue for some, but if your children are away that night, it may be a powerful reminder that your experience with your children will be different from now on.

And it may help you prepare for the significant holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas, which often involve major family gatherings. Most divorce attorneys strongly advise clients to work out a plan with the holidays to ensure that everyone knows, from the children to the grandparents, where the children will spend each holiday.

If you are still involved in your divorce proceedings, sitting down with a calendar and reviewing the entire year, with major and minor holidays, birthdays, school breaks and summer vacations is the best way in which to set expectations well in advance.

If it is critical that you always have your children on a particular day, such as Christmas morning, be prepared for how that will be negotiated and what you may have to give up in exchange.

On the other hand, if you believe you and your ex can share a holiday in an amicable manner, that may be another option.

Coming up with a holiday schedule that truly works for your new family arrangement may seem daunting, but advance planning can help make whatever you choose to do to become the new normal and after a few years, your new tradition.

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