Focusing On Family Law – And You
Divorce can be hard for everyone. It is especially challenging for children. In California, once a custody determination has been made, that does not mean the situation is settled. Parenting time—also referred to as visitation—could also be a topic for dispute.
Even in cases where the parents are on good terms, they may engage in disagreement over when the child is with the other parent, how the exchange is handled and more. One common problem is holidays and vacation time. It is essential for parents to think about the child’s needs and know how parenting time and schedules are established.
What is in a parenting plan?
The parenting plan will detail how the parents will have time with the child and who will be making decisions for the child. The time-share specifies when the child will be with each parent.
For example, the custodial parent might have the child during the school week with the other parent having the child over the weekend. This could be adjusted out of necessity and the parents, if they can be agreeable, are encouraged to be flexible to suit the other parent’s needs and requests.
Decision making is how the child’s fundamental needs are met and the way in which parents will come to an agreement on key aspects of the child’s life, like their education; health care; extracurricular activities; religious upbringing and more.
Parenting time during holidays and vacations
Parents might disagree when they try to come to a consensus on special occasions, holidays and vacation time. The custodial parent generally has the child during the school year, meaning the noncustodial parent will want to have the child during the holidays and for an extended period over the summer.
Often, this is not an issue. Still, if the custodial parent wants the child for Thanksgiving and the noncustodial parent would like to have the child at the same time, this could invite discord. Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and other events could also be a point of contention.
Parents are advised to have copies of the school schedule and plan well in advance for when they will share the child on these occasions. The child will not need stress in their life as the parents are planning for holidays and summer vacations. The parents may have relatives visiting from other states or countries and want the child with them. They could even be planning a trip with them. It is preferable to be flexible and understand the other parent’s perspective. That does not necessarily mean there will be a negotiated outcome, so some parents need to have legal help to create a plan in writing.
Parenting plans should address all concerns with legal guidance
It is easy to let a back and forth between parents fester and grow worse, especially when there are emotional factors attached, such as holidays, vacations and special events. There may be strategies available to specify the parenting time arrangement in detail and include these areas. For help and to keep rancor to a minimum, it is useful to have legal assistance to try and forge a workable agreement or address issues as they come up.