Modifying a Holiday Parenting Plan

As children get older and family circumstances change, a holiday parenting plan that once worked may need to be modified to accommodate these transitions. Additionally, for a parent looking to take a holiday vacation with his/her children, a modification may still be warranted. If you would like to modify a parenting plan, you can do so if you co-parent agrees with said changes. Today, we discuss how to modify a holiday parenting plan.

What Is a Holiday Parenting Plan?

A key part of your divorce agreement was establishing a holiday parenting plan or holiday parenting time schedule. The aim of such a plan is to reduce holiday disputes and tension over matters such as child custody and visitation during the holidays. A holiday parenting plan may cover but is not limited to defining which parent:

  • Has the children on certain holidays (includes the amount of time spent with the kids)
  • Is responsible for picking up and dropping off the children
  • Performs certain activities and/or festivities with the kids

How to Make Modifications

Both parents need to agree to the modifications requested to change a holiday parenting plan. If one co-parent will not agree to a reasonable alteration, you can petition the court for assistance. An experienced lawyer will be familiar with such proceedings and can provide you with further advice and assistance. The basic steps to modifying a holiday parenting plan are as follows:

  • Consult with an experienced attorney
  • Notify the other parent in writing of the modification
  • Both parents agree to the change
  • File the modification with the court

If one parent disagrees, you may opt for a method of alternative dispute resolution such as mediation to resolve your differences or petition the court.

Reasons for Modifying a Holiday Parenting Plan

There are plenty of reasons as to why you might want to alter your holiday parenting plan. In fact, it makes sense why you would do so as your children’s needs will change as they get older. Some reasons for a modification may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Parent relocates
  • Children change schools
  • Remarriage
  • Children’s needs or schedule changes
  • Unfit parent
  • Negative effect on the children’s wellbeing and/or development

Keep in mind that when modifying a holiday schedule, it is best to consider the children’s wellbeing first and foremost.

What Are Some Important Holiday Dates to Consider?

Some holiday dates you may want to consider when creating a holiday parenting plan with your co-parent include but are not limited to:

  • Religious holidays
  • Birthdays
  • School holidays
  • Cultural holidays
  • Three-day weekends
  • Other important dates for your family (Summer or Winter break)

It is important to note that the more you can compromise with your co-parent, the better the odds of your parenting plan running smoothly.

Why You Should Avoid Improvising a Holiday Parenting Plan

As you may well know, it is never really a good idea to improvise anything during the holidays – especially anything that directly impacts your children’s happiness. There could be some ramifications for “winging it” during the holidays, including forcing your children to choose which parent they want to spend their time with. It is best to establish a plan beforehand to avoid any conflict or stress. The last thing you want to worry about during the holidays is how to exchange your children or how to resolve a dispute over time sharing with your spouse. A holiday parenting plan keeps everything amicable and organized, so you can focus on enjoying your time with your kids during this festive time.

If you need help modifying your holiday parenting plan, feel free to contact our firm online or call us at (801) 901-7046.