How to navigate holiday visitation planning
Holidays are supposed to be the most joyous time of the year, but many people find the holiday season stressful. This can be especially true for families that need to navigate the ups and downs of split festivities and overlapping time commitments. Here are some tips to help you navigate the planning process successfully.
Tip #1 - Collaborate
Successful holiday planning begins with collaboration. Co-parents should sit down and discuss their preferences and expectations. Ensure that the child's best interests and well-being are at the forefront of the discussion.
Tip #2 - Pledge to be respectful and supportive
The holidays can be a stressful time for many. Emphasize the importance of respectful co-parenting. Remind each other to be courteous and supportive, even in challenging moments.
Tip #3 - Address special traditions
Consider how you both plan to handle special traditions or rituals during the holidays. This ensures that the child can still enjoy meaningful traditions with both parents.
Tip #4 - Consider how to handle minor changes in plans
Acknowledge that unforeseen circumstances may arise. Determine how you will handle adjustments if they’re needed, and commit to open communication so that last minute changes can be handled without undue inconvenience to yourself and other family members or friends.
Tip #5 - Make a detailed schedule and go over it together
Put together a detailed schedule of the holidays, specifying dates, times, and locations for visitation, drop off and pick up. Make sure it covers all major holidays and special occasions and addresses, if needed, any changes to an existing Parenting Plan.
How to set clear expectations
A Child Visitation Letter serves as a vital communication tool between co-parents. It outlines the agreed-upon schedule for the child's visitation schedule during holidays, ensuring that both parents are on the same page. Without such a letter, misunderstandings and conflicts can arise, negatively impacting the child.
The benefits of clear expectations are significant:
- Reduced Stress: Clear guidelines alleviate stress for both parents and the child.
- Predictability: A well-defined plan provides predictability, making holidays more enjoyable.
- Conflict Resolution: It minimizes conflicts by addressing potential issues in advance.
- Child's Comfort: Knowing what to expect helps the child feel secure and comfortable.
So as you sit down as co-parents to go over the upcoming holiday season and how you want to plan around visitation schedules and parenting time, remember that getting your plan in writing with a Child Visitation Letter is an important step in achieving the benefits of your advance planning by making your expectations clear.
What to do about changing holiday plans
Weather, illness, emergencies, and conflicts can undo even the most carefully crafted holiday plans. That’s why it’s important to be flexible around the holidays and consider your child’s needs and their safety when the unexpected happens. It’s also important to consider what is reasonable and what is not when last-minute changes result in harm to your child or financial losses to you.
This is a good time to revisit your Child Visitation Letter and the plans and expectations you so carefully put in place for the holidays. Discuss these commitments with your co-parent and point to the consequences of changes you believe were unnecessary or preventable. If the consequences are serious enough, you may want to consider consulting with a family law attorney to understand your rights.
When to talk to a lawyer
Family law attorneys typically focus on legal issues relating to marriage, divorce, child custody, child visitation, and child support. These laws can be different in each state, and so it’s important to consult with a lawyer who is licensed in the proper state for your legal issue.
A Rocket Lawyer network attorney can give you legal advice when you are concerned that your parenting rights are being violated or you or your child have been harmed by a co-parent. You can start with a simple question or schedule a consultation. Whether you have a Rocket Legal or Rocket Legal+ membership, there are affordable options for attorney assistance.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.