Now that you have successfully navigated the most recent holiday season, it is wise to carefully examine your parenting time arrangement and discuss any potential rough spots that could be smoothed out in the coming months. Divorced parents rely on their parenting plan and holiday schedule to provide guidance designed to alleviate stress and avoid disputes. Unfortunately, stress over the holidays can highlight numerous shortcomings.
No matter how the parents attempted to divide the various holidays, they will likely face some level of disagreement or emotional debate when the holidays become a reality. Now that the holiday season has passed, it is time to thoroughly examine the nature of the parenting plan to identify any challenges or sticking points. Couples tend to divide the holiday schedule in four ways:
- The child alternates holidays on an annual basis. This could mean, for example, the child spends Christmas with dad one year and with mom the following year.
- Parents divide the holiday itself so the child could spend Christmas Eve with one parent and then Christmas Day with the other parent.
- Parents celebrate the holiday twice. For example, the child spends the weekend before Christmas with dad and then the actual Christmas weekend with mom.
- The child spends set holidays with different parents. For example, the child always spends Christmas with mom and Thanksgiving with dad.
No matter which path you chose when drafting the parenting plan, now might be the time to review it with your ex. What worked? What didn’t? Did the child have any objections? It is wise to discuss this early so you can follow the legal process to make any revisions.
With these documents, it is crucial that you avoid making any sort of verbal agreement with your ex-spouse. While it might seem like an efficient use of time, a verbal agreement means nothing in the eyes of the law. There can be no enforcement and no penalties for breaking the terms of the agreement.