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Is Your Parenting Time Schedule Ready for the Holidays?

Posted on in Child Custody

Kane County parenting time attorneyAccording to recent estimates, there are almost 4 million divorced parents in the U.S. today. For such parents, the winter holiday season can be particularly tough to manage, as extended family members often travel great distances to celebrate and to see the children. While far fewer families are likely to travel this year compared to previous years, the holidays are still likely to be challenging for parents who share parental responsibilities.

The first thing you should keep in mind is that, no matter what you do, you will not be able to please everyone. Someone along the way is likely to feel at least a little slighted or disappointed about how your arrangements play out. However, with a little planning and a commitment to being flexible, you can enjoy a happy holiday as a divorced parent.

Take Proactive Steps

Planning ahead is key in making holiday parenting time arrangements. If you and your former partner have a parenting plan in place that specifies where your child will spend which holidays, it is important to be aware of what your plan says for this year. If you are not sure, review your plan and be certain. Your parenting agreement might give you the freedom to set up holiday plans each year by discussing them with your child’s other parent. Once you have established who will have parenting time and when, you can begin planning your holiday visits and other activities. This includes video visits and other arrangements made necessary by the COVID-19 health crisis.

Consider Creative Options

If you are not officially divorced yet, or you are thinking about how you want to set up your holiday parenting time schedule, remember that the best way to share time with your children is whatever way works for your unique situation. Some families set up an “every other” schedule, where the children will spend a holiday with one parent one year and the other parent the next year. For others, it might make sense to stagger celebrations. For example, you might have time with your children on Christmas Eve, while the other parent will have time on Christmas Day. You could even get creative and schedule your own special celebration on any day of your choosing—even if it is not December 25. Your children will probably not mind too much that Christmas is not on the “right” day, especially if you make your celebration fun and exciting for them.

Be Kind and Flexible

What will you do if the other parent has something unexpected happen, and he or she asks you to change the plans you made for the holidays? For example, assume your former spouse’s parents suddenly announce that they have decided to come into town after all, and your ex would love for your children to get to visit with their grandparents even though you were supposed to have the children on the days in question. In such a case, you have a choice: you can insist on adhering to the original plan or you can elect to be accommodating. Often, being flexible and kind to the other parent will increase the chances of him or her being willing to reciprocate when you need it down the road.

Contact a St. Charles Parenting Time Lawyer

If you have questions about putting together a parenting time plan for the upcoming holidays, the experienced Kane County family law attorneys at Goostree Law Group can help. Call 630-584-4800 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today.

 

Sources:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59

https://courts.illinois.gov/forms/approved/divorce/Divorce_with_Children_Parenting_Plan.pdf

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