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Tips for managing child custody during the holidays

On Behalf of | Sep 16, 2022 | Child Custody

For many families, the start of a new school year and the end of summer is the beginning of planning for special occasions and holidays throughout the year. Divorce and child custody arrangements can certainly add certain complexities to this planning. Here are a few tips for Maryland parents as they navigate holiday planning with custody arrangements in the mix: 

Confirm plans before booking 

Many parents are eager to book tickets and make arrangements early. Before doing this, however, it is important to make sure that both parties have the same understanding of the child custody arrangement during the holidays. A co-parenting agreement may include specific wording around holiday arrangements, including details such as pick up and drop off expectations and how travel plans will be shared. Otherwise, these details can be agreed upon on a case-by-case basis.  

Consider whether changes to schedules will be needed 

If one or both parents would like to request a scheduling change to accommodate holiday plans, it is important to know this and start the process as soon as possible. Agreements can vary on how scheduling changes are permitted to take place, with some situations even requiring notarized documents to change plans. Following the steps laid out in the agreement carefully, documenting everything and involving an attorney where needed can help prevent issues like someone changing their mind down the road. 

Find an equitable approach 

Holidays can be very emotionally charged for divorced parents, and it is important to consider what is the best arrangement for one’s particular situation. There may be cultural considerations, such as certain religious holidays, that one parent celebrates but the other does not. Other aspects that can impact the best arrangement might be scheduling around visiting family, desired travel, work schedules, and the desires of the parents and kids. For this reason, taking a personalized approach that attempts to be equitable to all is critical for most families.

Not all families have a co-parenting plan drafted, especially those who have just begun the divorce process. For those who do not have a written agreement, it can be critical to have clear conversations about how the holidays will be managed and to document conclusions. For those with a formal agreement, it is just as important that this is taken into consideration in the process and followed where necessary. In either case, an experienced Maryland divorce attorney can be a valuable resource for families planning the holidays with child custody considerations in the mix.