As the holidays approach, many divorced parents find it difficult to navigate parenting time. Even though divorced parents have a parenting plan and parenting time dates set in advance, conflicts can still arise when unexpected issues come up.
Whether it’s missing a flight and getting back a day later than normal or spending time at home with the flu, there are all kinds of reasons why holiday parenting time schedules can get thrown off. What should you do if that happens to you? How can you make the most of the limited days you and your child have together?
Approach holiday parenting time pragmatically
Initially, take a pragmatic approach with parenting time. If you and your ex’s work schedules vary from the usual during the holidays, proactive planning is key. Compare schedules once you know which days each of you have off so you can plan your holiday parenting time schedule accordingly. This makes the most of the limited hours you both may have to see your child. You may also need to decide how to divide parenting time on days off that overlap. Perhaps one parent absolutely wants to see their child on Halloween, but the other is content to see them on Christmas.
This time of year can get tricky, but a reasonable approach and flexibility can make a positive difference. If unexpected events come up, like a surprise visit from out of town family members or a child’s sickness, weigh your options. Flexibility is often key, so if your child is sick for two days at your home when they should have been with your ex-spouse, consider setting aside two other days where your child can spend time with their other parent.
If your ex does not act in good faith regarding parenting time and undermines efforts to ensure that parenting time is equitable, it adds a layer of stress on what should be happy times for you and your child. Consultation with an experienced family law firm will inform you of what legal options are available to address your situation.