Holidays and the Best-Laid Parenting Plans

With the holidays in full swing, it’s important to keep in mind the benefit of creating a detailed holiday schedule well in advance. This will allow you and your co-parent to make plans to carry out family traditions, get together with extended family, and reduce some of the holiday stress. More importantly, your children will benefit from a planned holiday schedule because of a reduction in potential stressful dialogue and disagreements.

When creating a holiday schedule, you must consider what, if any holiday traditions existed during the marriage with extended family and be open and flexible to ensure your children continue to enjoy these traditions while spending quality time with both of you. If it is not possible to hang on to all the traditions created during the marriage, you may find it is time to create a holiday schedule that compliments the new traditions you seek to create for your children.

It is important to understand that the holiday schedule will take precedence over your regular parenting schedule, and you cannot assume a particular holiday is your day simply because it falls on your regular parenting day. Remember that when you’re creating or modifying a holiday schedule, you’ll have to make compromises. Accept that you may not get exactly what you want and do your best to coordinate celebrations with your extended families and the travel involved to accommodate the schedule. Always keep in mind, you can create your own traditions and celebrate a holiday on whatever day you like regardless of what the calendar says.

If you don’t already have a holiday plan in place, and if you and your co-parent can communicate effectively, the best option is to sit down and build one together. If you reach an impasse, or need to revise an existing schedule that no longer seems to work because circumstances have changed, such as a relocation or the age of your children, you will likely need the assistance of an experienced family law attorney.

The family law team at Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf, LLP is here to guide you toward creating a holiday schedule that will help you and your children not just survive, but enjoy the holidays.