How Do Holidays and Vacations Fit Into Parenting Plans?
Although the majority of parenting time a parent is concerned about is typically the schedules between the two parents day-in and day-out, the concern changes during holidays. Understanding how holidays alter a parenting plan schedule can assist parents in planning his or her events and vacations well in advance and reduce difficulty in transporting children back and forth.
Children enjoy the chance to interact with each parent and extended family members, and this is particularly true during holidays when there is more opportunity for the children to interact with more family members. The schedule for school breaks, vacations, and holidays always takes precedence over the existing scheduled parenting time. In determining how to schedule these events, it’s important to put yourself in the shoes of the child. How would he or she benefit from the holiday schedule? How can a parent facilitate meaningful family time during holidays spent with him or her but also minimize stress and problems during the other parent’s holiday parenting time?
Another factor to consider is the opportunity for the child to speak with the other parent during extended vacation time. It may help to set up a regular phone schedule during times where a child is visiting with one parent for a longer period of time. Regular scheduled phone contact may minimize disruptions to a vacation while allowing the child to remain positive and maintain close relationships with the other parent and any siblings.
Parents may decide that the children should spend the same holidays with one parent every year, but it’s more common to rotate holidays. Most parents elect to switch off every other year but this may depend on a family’s individual situation. Parents should plan in advance for special events, like Christmas Eve and Christmas as well as birthdays, so the children have an opportunity to celebrate with both parents. Religious holidays should also be included in the holiday rotation schedule, if they are typically celebrated with the children.
Most parents are willing to work together to construct a schedule that is fair and in the best interests of the children. Typically, each parent is given a reasonable opportunity to schedule a vacation with the children. The vacationing parent should provide necessary travel information, such as an itinerary, to the other parent. The information is not only a courteous but may become useful in the limited circumstances where transportation and weather, among other issues, might alter a parent’s vacation plans. If an emergency does arise, the other parent should always be able to contact the child. Facilitating these emergency plans can help to ease everyone’s anxiety and to make it more likely that parents interact on a friendly basis in the future.
Planning, cooperation, and willingness to be flexible are important when it comes to determining what holidays or vacation breaks are most appropriate with each parent. Since many parents elect to switch every other year, knowing each parent’s holiday schedule for the year can help parents plan vacations and special family time well in advance. There are many options available for scheduling holiday and vacation time and it is in the children’s, as well as the parents’ best interest, to contact an Arizona family lawyer today.