One of the most important elements in a divorce when there are children involved is developing the parenting plan. One of the key elements of a parenting plan involves holidays.
Most family law attorneys recommend that these plans be as specific as possible. Even if you and your spouse are getting along fine and think that you'll always be able to work out holiday custody and visitation, you never know what will happen in the future.
Holidays can involve grandparents, aunts and uncles on both sides pressuring you to let them see the kids. Further, when you eventually get new significant others, holiday gatherings can become even more complicated. It's best to have a detailed legal document to rely on in a disagreement.
So what kind of specifics should you include in your parenting plan regarding holidays and the surrounding vacation time? Here are a few:
Where will the kids be spending each holiday?
- Will you alternate custody each year or will the schedule remain the same?
- When exactly does "holiday custody" begin? Is it after school on the last day or the following day?
- When does it end?
- Which parent is responsible for the pick-ups and drop-offs and when will those be.
Of course, that's just for holidays. Similar things should be delineated for all days off from school and summer vacations.
That's not to say that you and your co-parent can't mutually agree to change what's outlined in your parenting plan. However, clear communication with each other and with your kids is key to reducing conflict and confusion. Many families maintained calendars using a shared parenting app.
It's a good idea to sit down with a calendar and plan out at least the first year of shared custody after divorce to make sure that you've covered all holidays, vacations and time off.
You can always amend your parenting plan (and many people do) as their kids grow up, their family units change and they find out what does and doesn't work. Your Florida family law attorney can help you do this.
Source: Our Family Wizard, "Custody: How Specific Should You Be?," accessed Nov. 14, 2017