Structuring Residential Time During the Holidays
A well-crafted parenting plan will look out for your child’s well-being on a day-to-day basis and will account for holidays, special occasions, and other times when your daily routine will change. A parenting plan sets in place the guidelines for co-parenting you and the other parent will rely on down the road.
Specifying how your child will spend his or her holidays is an important component of these guidelines. Holidays are full of changes to the normal routine. School hours change, you may have extra family members to accommodate in your home, and you may have extra responsibilities on your plate such as Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner. It is important to account for these deviations from your daily schedule in your parenting plan.
Many parents find that alternating residential time during the holidays works for their family. For example, you and the other parent can alternate having your child for Christmas Day from year to year. Or, some parents may want to simply pick and choose which holidays they want to spend with their child, although this requires an agreement between both spouses.
Remember to consider any family traditions when structuring your child’s residential time. If your family always did a certain activity or went on a special trip during the holidays, try to account for that in the residential schedule. Make sure you prioritize your child’s well-being when scheduling your holiday residential time.
It can be challenging to make sure your child gets to spend time with both his or her parents during the holidays, especially if you live far apart or have other commitments that would prevent a lot of back and forth between houses. Remember to be as specific as possible without setting unreasonable constraints in your parenting plan. If it is important to have your child home in time for dinner on Christmas Eve, make sure you specify a reasonable drop-off time. Make sure you are communicating openly with the other parent about your plans and respect theirs as well. Your parenting plan should look out for your child’s best interests, so make sure they can spend quality time with both their parents during the holidays.
If you have questions or concerns about drafting a solid parenting plan, Mediation Advantage Services can assist you. Experienced in divorce and child custody mediation, Polly A. Tatum can help you create a parenting plan that is tailored to your family’s needs. Our firm serves those across Worcester County as well as across Massachusetts. Call our Worcester office at (508) 795-1557, fill out our online form, or email us at [email protected] today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free guide for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.