The Holiday Season is full of friends, family and fun. But for families where parents are separated or divorced, the holidays can be difficult and can add to tensions for parents that do not get along or are struggling to co-parent. How can parents avoid such issues in the first place? When open communication between the parties is not available, developing a plan long before you buy your Thanksgiving turkey or book plane tickets for your Winter break is important in trying to avoid contentious interactions that can ruin not just your holiday time but more importantly your children’s.
In cases which already have Court ordered parenting time, clients should start by checking the current Agreement or Court Order in place before making holiday plans with the children. In most situations, the divorced parents follow what is called the Court Holiday Schedule as well as their Final Judgment of Divorce and/or Settlement Agreement. Be careful though – not all counties have the exact same schedule so it is crucial to check your specific county.
In the event that you do not have an Agreement or Court Order or if you would like to vary from this Order, then it is important that you reach out to the other parent as soon as possible. It is always best if the parents can reach an agreement between each other. This is not only the most cost-effective approach, but parties who come up with their own solutions tend to fare much better in the long-term than those who rely on the Court system to manage their family decisions. If an agreement cannot be reached, then the next course of action will likely lead the parties to go before a Judge to ask for a change. Typically, this is done through a motion, which at the earliest will be heard by the court 24 days later, but in emergencies, an Order to Show Cause may be available depending on your particular facts and circumstances. With just weeks to go before the holidays are upon us, time is of the essence.
If you are having Holiday parenting time issues and/or anticipate problems it is important to talk to an attorney as soon as possible so you and your family can enjoy your holidays with your children. Contact the attorneys at Adinolfi and Packman for more information.