Holiday stress comes in many varieties, from scrambling to get your house clean and an elaborate meal on the table by the time the guests arrive to dealing with relatives who claim that they do not want to do a gift exchange but then complain when you do not get them anything. Co-parenting with your ex-spouse during the holidays is an emotional minefield that you cannot truly understand unless you have experienced it yourself. Believe it or not, the parenting plan that you create at the time of your divorce, if done right, can prevent holiday conflicts every year from now until your children reach adulthood. The Fort Worth divorce lawyers at the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker can help you draft a drama-proof parenting plan.
How Parenting Plans Work
If you and your ex-spouse have children together, and if at least one of those children is a minor at the time of your divorce, the law requires the court to issue a parenting plan. If you and your ex agree on all the details of the parenting plan during mediation, the judge will simply sign off on the parenting plan when finalizing your divorce. If your divorce case goes to trial, the judge will decide on the points upon which you and your ex disagree.
The parenting plan deals with all aspects of co-parenting except money; the child support order is a separate document from the parenting plan, although a parenting plan must be in place in order to calculate child support precisely. These are some examples of issues covered by the parenting plan:
- Which parent is with the children on which day of the year
- Which parent has the final decision about the children’s non-emergency medical care
- Which parent has the final decision about the children’s participation in extracurricular activities
- How the parents will divide responsibilities for transporting the children from one parent to the other
The details of your parenting plan will vary according to your children’s ages, your work schedule and that of your ex, and how close you and your ex live to each other. You have the option to assign transportation responsibilities, and even some visitation days, to extended family members.
Over-Planning for the Holidays Can Prevent Conflict With Your Ex-Spouse
The more details you include about holidays in a parenting plan, the easier it is to avoid conflict about holiday plans. It is not micromanaging to determine that the kids will be with day from Friday evening to Sunday evening during the school year, but they will stay with Dad until Monday evening on Labor Day and Presidents’ Day (but will go back to Mom’s house on Sunday evening before Martin Luther King Day and Memorial Day). Your Thanksgiving plans might look like this: On odd numbered years, Mom will pick up the kids from school on Tuesday. Dad will pick them up from her house on Friday at 3:00 in the afternoon and bring them back to Mom at 7:00 on Sunday evening. On even-numbered years, it will be the same schedule, except with the parents reversed.
Contact the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker About Making Co-Parenting Painless
A family law attorney can help you develop a parenting plan that works well for your family. Contact the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker in Fort Worth, Texas, to discuss your case.