The holiday season can be a stressful time for nearly everyone - regardless of occupation or family status. Divorced parents can face an additional burden, however, when attempting to juggle a visitation schedule around holiday festivities.
Child custody and visitation can be challenging disputes to resolve during a divorce. When other factors are included - such as relocation, modification or a holiday schedule - the dispute can reach dangerous levels. Even if a divorcing couple agrees to a visitation or parenting time schedule, they might not have considered the dramatic impact the holiday season might have.
There are numerous factors to consider while attempting to fit your holiday schedule into your visitation schedule.
- Examine your custody agreement. It is possible that these issues were resolved and you have forgotten. It's also possible that your attorney made recommendations that might clarify matters.
- Don't simply change things. Your visitation arrangement is a legally binding document. Modifications must be handled by the court system. At the very least, consult your attorney for guidance.
- Plan ahead. While it might be too late to make significant changes in your visitation arrangement right now, you can make modifications for next year after the holidays. Make notes about the challenges you faced this year, and discuss them with your attorney after things settle down.
- Be respectful and flexible. While verbal alterations are not legally binding, sometimes there is just no other way. If you need to make changes to the schedule, discuss your needs with the other parent. Use a polite, respectful tone when trying to find a compromise. The holiday season is challenging enough for parents without heaping on additional stress.
- Make it a group decision. There's nothing wrong with discussing the challenges you are facing with your children. Approach the problem from a positive, proactive perspective and you might be able to resolve the matter as a family.
Carefully consider your options and you might be able to reduce your holiday stress. If you need the advice of an attorney experienced in these matters, contact a skilled legal professional today.