The Aikin Family Law Group is a divorce law firm in Orlando, Florida that assists clients facing some of the more challenging aspects of divorce. If you are going through a divorce, one of the toughest negotiations you’ll face will likely involve issues of child custody and parenting time. One of the more sensitive issues that can arise with a parenting plan involves deciding who will get to have the children for the holidays. If this is your first holiday after a separation or if you and your partner are in the process of working out a child custody agreement, the decisions you make now for your family will impact your family for years to come. The divorce lawyers at the Aikin Family Law Group are skilled negotiators who can help reduce conflict and assist you and your former spouse in developing a parenting plan that works for you.
In the process of deciding how your children will spend the holidays after or during your divorce? If this is your first holiday after divorce, a little preparation and planning can go a long way to making this holiday a memorable and happy one. Here are five things to consider when drafting your holiday parenting plan during divorce:
- Decide Your Family’s Ideal Holiday Schedule. Every family’s needs are unique. While there are some general ways that families decide how they’ll share parenting time after a divorce, ultimately the decision you make should be one that works for your family and children. Many families rotate holidays, with one parent getting the children for Christmas on even years and the other parent getting the children for Christmas on odd years. If you live close to your ex, another alternative is to split Christmas day itself, with the children spending the morning with one parent and the evening with the other parent. However, every family’s needs will be unique. Some families are perfectly fine with one parent always getting the children on Christmas Eve, and the other parent getting the children on Christmas day.
- Decide How Children Will Spend the Winter Break. Most schools let out for a couple of weeks over the holiday. This means that the kids will be home and parents will need to figure out childcare and decide where the children will spend the holiday. Most families split the holiday recess in half and divide parenting time this way, but if one parent generally works over the holiday or if parents live far apart, then sometimes the children might spend their winter break with different parents on alternating years.
- Include Provisions for Conflicts and Change of Plans. What happens if one parent needs to work the holiday? What happens if one parent falls ill? What if the children’s needs or schedules change? A holiday parenting plan should include provisions for how changes will be made and how conflicts will be resolved.
- What Happens if One or Both Parents Want to Travel for the Holiday? Some families choose to use the winter break to travel. A holiday parenting plan should also include provisions for how each parent should notify the other if he or she will be traveling with the children. If travel is important to you and your children, you may also want to arrange winter break parenting time accordingly. Many families will specify that travel arrangements must be made in advance (how far in advance is up to you) and that the arrangements must be made in writing.
- Take Your Children’s Needs into Account. If your children are old enough, talk to them about what they might want. Your children might provide ideas and insights you and your former spouse may not have considered.
When it comes to planning for the holidays, making decisions for your family in advance is best. Don’t leave your post-divorce holiday plans to the last minute. If this is your first holiday after a divorce, remember that this time is a great opportunity to build new traditions for your family. It can be difficult if you won’t be spending this Christmas with the children, but if you take time to plan ahead, connect with family and friends and your community, you might find new traditions ahead. Think about what you need. Do you need more time alone? More time with family? Maybe this is a good chance to take a little solo vacation to get some much needed me-time. The first holiday after a divorce or separation will likely be one of the most difficult. But, it gets better. The Aikin Family Law Group is a divorce law firm in Orlando, Florida that can assist you with creating a parenting plan that can work for your family. Reach out to our divorce lawyers today or contact USAttorneys.com to get connected with our family law firm.