The holidays are around the corner and that means parenting plans will be enforced. Hopefully your parenting plan has properly accommodated the upcoming holidays. Sometimes holidays can be horrifically contentious so here are some tips from our firm to make the holidays great!
1. Have a game plan.
Having a parenting plan that arranges for holidays is absolutely key. The last thing any parent wants is a last minute disagreement about which parent gets which holiday. Disagreements about who has parenting time is a sure fire way to ruin a holiday. Generally, holiday schedules alternate from parent to parent. If you’re having a hard time figuring out which holidays to consider, it helps to shadow the child’s school schedule. Below is a good example of a common Holiday Parenting Plan:
Thanksgiving – Parent #1 for odd years, Parent #2 for even years
Winter Break Week One (Christmas) — Parent #2 for odd years, Parent #1 for even years
Winter Break Week Two (New Years) — Parent # for odd years, Parent #2 for even years
Spring Break — Parent #2 for odd years, Parent #1 for even years
Other holidays can be added in the schedule that are important to parents, such as Halloween, Memorial Day weekend, Labor Day Weekend, and Fourth of July. Sometimes parents even alternate birthday celebrations. Whatever it may be, make sure you have a game plan.
2. Follow the game plan.
Now that you have a game plan regarding the holidays be sure to stick with the plan. Changing the plan last minute is not good for anyone involved. Even though ideally it would be nice for each parent to have parenting time for every holiday, the fact of the matter is that the family unit has split. There are now two separate families and you have to continue to co-parent regardless of the divsion. The truth of the matter is that you have to continue to co-parent until your child turns 18, and even beyond that. Which leads me to my last tip below.
3. Be generous.
You are not the only parent. Understanding that the other parent is still a parent will get you a long way. Being flexible and generous around the holidays is always helpful. Generally in my experience, when one parent shows an act of kindness, it goes a long way. One act of kindness leads to another act of kindness, which culitavates a healthy and stable co-parenting atmosphere. Being able to co-parent effectively will be the most beneficial to your child.
So remember Halloween is tomorrow, if you and your child’s other parent are fighting over who is going to take your child trick or treating, take a step back and remember who it is really about. Your child, not you.
Christopher Nicolaysen is a Family law Attorney who practices in Colorado Springs, CO. He graduated from Denver Sturm College of Law, and has been practicing law for several years now. Christopher Nicolaysen is passionate about helping you solve your family matters. Learn more about his experience here.