Parenting time is designed to ensure that a noncustodial parent and a minor child continue to have a healthy, meaningful relationship after a divorce. Managing parenting time is not without the potential for stress. This particularly can be the case with holiday parenting time — not just the end of year season, but holidays throughout the course of any given year. There are some tips that make holiday parenting time less stressful for parents and children.
Holiday Parenting Time: Plan Proactively
Holidays are set in stone on the calendar. Although dates of some holidays do vary from year to year, once set the dates to no change. Therefore, parents need to be proactive in planning parenting time associated with a particular holiday. As a general rule, there is no need for last minute gyrations when it comes to holiday parenting time.
As part of proactive planning, parents need to communicate in a regular and reliable fashion. If a parent desires to plan a trip of some sort around a holiday, he or she needs to let the other parent know of these plans as soon as the travel idea begins to form.
If one parent has something special in mind for a particular holiday, which might require a parenting time adjustment, the other parent should reasonably cooperate. More often than not there is no need to dig heels in and be unyielding when it comes to scheduling parenting time around a particular holiday.
Keep in mind that cooperation goes both ways. A parent who cooperates for one holiday is likely to receive the same consideration at another juncture in time. More significantly, the best interests of the child are always advanced when parents cooperate rather than argue over matters like custody and parenting time.
Remember the Extended Family
Oftentimes, holiday events are planned to include extended family members. It is important for minor children to maintain a connection with extended families of both parents following a divorce. This can be accomplished by ensuring that parenting time is adjusted to allow for events that include members of the extended family.
Holiday Parenting Time: Put It in Writing
When decisions are made regarding holiday parenting, it is crucial to put those decisions in writing. By putting it in writing, there is less confusion surrounding decisions made associated with parenting time. This particularly is the case when holiday parenting time requires an alteration of a preexisting schedule.
Being proactive in addressing potential holiday parenting time issues lessens the odds for conflicts. By following this plan, you enhance the best interests of a child.