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Preparing a Holiday Parenting Plan, Part Two: Making a Schedule

Posted on in Child Custody

DuPage County family lawyersIn our last post, we talked a little bit about the various religious feasts and celebrations that take place throughout the month of December. As part of that discussion, we looked at some of the ways that divorced parents can encourage their children to experience a wide range of holiday traditions during the winter season. Of course, religion and faith-based concerns are just part of the equation that divorced parents are tasked with solving this time of year. They must also contend with scheduling challenges and make arrangements to spend important holidays with their children in accordance with existing parenting plans.

Check Your Agreement

Illinois law requires a parenting plan to be on file for divorced parents who share responsibilities regarding their children. Parents are free—and encouraged—to cooperatively develop a plan that outlines each party’s authority for decision-making and includes a schedule for when the child will spend time with each parent. Your plan may include specific provisions for important holidays such as Christmas or New Year’s, but it may also permit you and the other parent to negotiate on a year-by-year basis.

Making Arrangements

If your parenting plan does not include clear provision for holiday parenting time, you need to communicate with the other parent right away. This will allow each of you to make plans with friends and family that include your children if possible. In your discussions, do your best to be flexible and understanding. Your former partner wants to spend time with your children during the holidays as much as you do, and hostility will only make the situation less enjoyable for all involved.

You should also discuss your scheduling concerns with your extended family or those who may be hosting holiday celebrations. Depending on your family’s traditions, you may be able to adjust plans so that you children can participate in the family festivities. For example, if your children are slated to spend most of Christmas day with their other parent, consider scheduling your family’s celebration for Christmas Eve or the day after Christmas.

Keep a Positive Attitude

It is easy for the stress of compromise and scheduling overwhelm you, especially during the winter holidays. If you allow negative feelings to take control, however, you are only punishing yourself and your children. Stay positive and upbeat, even if you are not actually feeling it; your children deserve a happy holiday season free from the anxiety and fear that often comes with bickering parents.

If in the course of your holiday planning you realize that your parenting plan needs to be updated, do your best to get through this year then be ready to make changes for next year. For assistance with modifying your parenting plan, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call Pesce Law Group, P.C. at 630-352-2240 and schedule your free initial consultation.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2086&

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/randi-l-rubin/putting-children-first-th_b_2101588.html

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