Unscheduled Holiday Parenting Time

In our last few blogs, we have discussed what is holiday parenting time and what holidays are traditionally observed. But what happens if a holiday is important to your family and it is not listed in the holiday parenting time schedule. There are some holidays celebrated across the generations as part of one’s ancestral culture or religion that may not be recognized by the mainstream. This does not mean that a divorce will now end this tradition for your children. Here are some tips to handle those non-traditional holidays.

Ask the other parent to allow you to spend time with children.

If the tradition has been ongoing, talk to the other parent. Ask that she allow you parenting time to celebrate this holiday with the children. You may have to remind her of the importance the holiday has been in your lives and reinforce your desire to continue its celebration with the children. If you cannot reach an agreement, be ready to argue the importance of the holiday to your family court judge.

Document agreements in writing.

When the other parent agrees to allow you parenting time with the children for a holiday, document your agreement in writing. You do not need a formal written order to document your agreement for one year, but if you are looking to make celebrating the holiday an annual tradition with the children, adding it to the court-ordered holiday parenting time schedule will remove the uncertainty for the years to come. Both you and the children can count of being able to celebrate as a family. If it is a special occasion that you have requested, then exchanging text messages or emails that clearly state what you both agreed and what are the logistics may be enough.

Show gratitude to the other parent.

If you have received an agreement to celebrate an important holiday or occasion with the children, express your gratitude to the other parent. The parent could have denied you this opportunity, but instead showed respect for your traditions. This olive branch should be recognized, and gratitude expressed for the kindness and respect being shown to you.

Inform your attorney.

The best approach about handling non-traditional holidays that are important to you and honor family traditions is to communicate those holidays to your attorney. If your attorney is unfamiliar with the holiday, you may have to explain the importance of the holiday to your attorney. Request that your attorney includes the holiday in the negotiations for holiday parenting time. Insist on mentioning the holiday in any mediation summary or trial brief that the attorney will have to write during your case. You may have to educate others why continuing this holiday tradition is in the children’s best interests.

Celebrate the requested holiday with your children.

If you have taken the steps to have parenting time for a non-traditional holiday, give the other parent advance information about how the holiday will be celebrated. Share what time you will pick up the children and when the children will return home. If the children need special clothing or equipment, communicate this. Finally, show up to celebrate the holiday. The other parent should not be asking you if you are coming to pick up the children for a holiday that you specifically requested.

If you are having difficulty being granted time with your children on holidays not recognized as traditional, call us today. We understand that in our diverse society there will be holidays celebrated that do not make the typical Friend of the Court holiday parenting time schedules. We are here to help you preserve and pass on those important family traditions to your children.

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