Holidays are supposed to be a time of fun and celebration. However, for many families, dealing with parenting time calendars and ex-spouses during the holidays can cause anger and frustration. Moreover, it can be difficult to attend all of the family activities, keep important traditions alive, and stick to a parenting plan.
Understanding the Parenting Plan
When a couple with children splits up and the courts are involved, a parenting plan will be part of almost any final order. In many cases the parents have worked together to create their own agreement as to parenting time. Still, sometimes the court has to issue a decision because the parties cannot agree.
The purpose of the parenting plan is to make sure that both parents continue to play an important role in their children’s lives. In addition, a parenting plan is supposed to help children continue to have strong relationships with both parents.
Parenting plans are not designed to be used as weapons that keep one parent from enjoying special, unique opportunities with their children. However, holidays are also not an excuse to completely ignore the provisions of the parenting plan.
When to be Flexible
Judges expect parents to use common sense when adhering to parenting plans. If some activity that the child is participating in would require the child to miss parenting time with the non-custodial parent, the parents should work out a different date for the parenting time. Not allowing the child to participate in the activity, or having one parent give-up his or her parenting time, are not the best options.
Especially during busy holidays, parents should be flexible.
How to Deal with Conflicts
When conflicts arise, there are several strategies that can be used to keep disagreements from spiraling into something worse. The first step is for both parents to step back and look at the big picture. It is easy to get caught up in the moment, especially when a cherished family tradition is at stake. However, there will be other holidays and often parents can agree to some type of trade off.
Another strategy is to ask a neutral third party to act as a mediator. This can be done outside of the court process. Sometimes, an outsider who is not emotionally invested in the situation can find solutions that the parents miss.
If you are having ongoing problems with parenting time, or you have any other family law concerns, please contact a knowledgeable DuPage County family law lawyer. Call Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. today at 630-665-7676 to schedule your consultation today.