Does Your Custody Agreement Include Halloween???
With the new Form Parenting Plan and a judicial shift away from the standard, every other weekend visitation schedule, Halloween has evolved as a parenting holiday. Many parents have negotiated Halloween as a special day to share time with their children; similar to Fourth of July, Labor Day and Thanksgiving.
However, Halloween is different. Since Halloween falls on a different day each year, it often occurs on a weeknight. School is usually in session both the day of, and the day after, and daily routines go out the window. As such, plans for Halloween should be made well in advanced and agreed to by both parents to avoid disappointing the children and/or creating additional friction between the parents. Things to consider might include an altered pick-up/exchange time or location and whether the late night should include an overnight. The more detailed the plan and the communication between the parents, the better the odds that the holiday will end in celebration and not in tears.
Alternating Halloween each year seems to be the best way to handle it, for parents living in relatively close proximity. For parents living more than an hour drive from each other, it may be best to exclude Halloween as a timesharing option, and to leave it in the hands of the parent who would normally exercise timesharing that day. Each family has a different situation, which is why it is important to communicate with your lawyer during the divorce proceeding to hammer out these details as much as possible.
The families that tend to cope best with life after divorce are those that pay attention to detail on the front end. Your timesharing agreement is your roadmap until your children become adults. You can always deviate from the course when things are good, but when communication breaks down, the parties must revert back to the written document until otherwise modified by a judge. And keep in mind that once a plan is approved by a judge, it is very difficult, time consuming and expensive to change without the consent of the other parent.
Holiday time sharing schedules are generally a deviation from the regular routine. If you do not choose a lawyer with the experience to help you think these things out on the front end, it can easily become one of the more frustrating and emotional parts of raising children in separate homes.
Halloween is scary enough by itself. You don’t need to add to it the stress, time and money that can result from a vague and unclear timesharing schedule. If you are a parent contemplating divorce, contact us now and schedule a consultation to review your situation. Let us put our experience to work for you.