Preparing for the Holidays in Two Homes

holidays, parenting time, Illinois family law attorneyWith Thanksgiving about a week away, and the winter holidays just around the corner, it is time to begin making plans. In most families, such plans may include which family member is bringing what dessert, and who is hosting dinner this year. For divorced or unmarried parents subject to a custody or parenting time agreement, however, the preparation process often includes some additional elements. If your child splits his or her time between your home and that of the other parent, the holiday season probably requires a level of cooperation, but with reasonable communication, the experience can be positive for all involved.

Check Your Agreement

Your parenting agreement may already include provisions regarding the holidays. Parenting time orders are often customized based on the traditions and priorities of each family, and there are variety of ways to make such a schedule. For example, your order may indicate that this year, your child spends Thanksgiving with you and Christmas with the other parent, and then next year, the opposite occurs. Alternatively, it may specify that your child spends the morning with you on designated holidays and the afternoon with other parent. If a particular holiday is not traditionally observed by one parent or the other, the agreement may permit the child to stay with parent who does celebrate it for the entire day.

Flexible Planning

If your agreement does not provide guidelines for parenting time during the holidays, you and the other parent would be well-advised to develop a schedule in advance, if possible. By not including such provisions in the order, it is assumed that reasonable negotiation will take place, and that you can reach a workable agreement. Your plan should include not only days and times, but also transportation arrangements and related expectations.

You should also keep in mind that, when dealing with the fall and winter holidays, it can be difficult to adhere to a minute-by-minute schedule. Unexpected visitors, delays in food preparation, and—especially around Christmas and Hanukkah—snow and dangerous driving conditions can cause you or the other parent to be a little later for pick-ups or drop-offs than expected. Try your best to be understanding, and realize that things happen. If no disrespect by the other parent was intended, do not go looking for it, and allow everyone—including yourself—to fully enjoy the holidays.

Work with a Lawyer

While cooperative negotiation is ideal, it may not actually be realistic in every situation. If you and your other parent cannot reach an agreement regarding holidays with your child, a modification to your parenting time order may be necessary. Contact an experienced Aurora family law attorney today for help with creating the structure that you and your child deserve. Call [[phone]] today to schedule your free consultation at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., so that you can better enjoy the holiday season with your child.



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