Handling the Holidays with a Parenting Plan

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Handling the Holidays with a Parenting Plan

As the holidays approach, parents across the country scramble to find ways to manage the stress that inevitably comes with balancing a parenting plan with the holiday season. Often, considerations for specific holidays as well as more general ways to approach the holidays are included in parenting plans. If you are currently working through a divorce or otherwise developing your children’s custody and visitation order, take time now to learn about the common ways families handle the holidays.

Your Options for Managing the Holidays

When you are creating a parenting plan, you have a few options regarding how you will handle the holidays. These include:

  • Splitting the holidays. With this type of schedule, the children spend half of each holiday with one parent and half with the other, alternating time slots year to year;
  • Alternating holidays. When parents alternate holidays, the children spend the entire day with one parent and his or her family, then spend the next holiday with the other parent’s family, alternating which parent spends each holiday with the children year to year;
  • Duplicating holidays. For some families, it makes the most sense for the children to celebrate each holiday twice, once with each parent; and
  • Fixed holidays. Your parenting plan can stipulate that the children spend certain holidays with one parent every year, like spending Mother’s Day with their mother.

Creating a Schedule that Works for Your Family

There is no “right” way to handle the holidays. The right holiday parenting plan for your family depends on a variety of factors, like the distance between your house and your former partner’s house, your extended families’ holiday traditions, and the parenting time schedule you and your former partner follow throughout the rest of the year. If you and your spouse are working together to develop a parenting plan, try to find places where you can compromise so you can both enjoy the holidays with your children. Keep in mind that your holiday schedule, like every other aspect of your parenting plan, should be developed with your children’s best interest in mind.

Tips for Surviving the Holidays with a Plan in Place

The holidays can be stressful and facing your first holiday season with a parenting plan can be downright daunting. A few tips that can help you manage the holiday season are:

  • Be willing to be flexible with pick-up and drop-off times;
  • Coordinate gifts with your former partner and family so your children do not receive duplicate gifts;
  • Communicate with your former partner. Share your plans for the holidays, and let him or her know if you will be running late or if plans fall through; and
  • Remember that your parenting plan only covers you and your former spouse. Your children have no obligation to see other family members or friends.

Work with an Experienced Schaumburg Family Lawyer

If your holiday parenting plan is causing you stress, consider modifying it so it fits your children’s current needs better. To learn more about creating and modifying parenting plans in Illinois, contact our team of Schaumburg family lawyers at Andrea Heckman Lawtoday to set up your initial legal consultation in our office.

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