Unmarried parents creating parenting plans often expect to have to share their children for Christmases, birthdays and Thanksgivings. What they usually haven’t contemplated is sharing sick days, Veterans Days, MLK Days and Presidents Days. These are all days that often result in kids being out of school while parents still have to work. As most parents agree, these days are often disruptive to their work schedules, especially if the kids do not attend a daycare that allows them to attend on those days.
To avoid confusion, parenting plans are expected to schedule where children will be each day (even each hour) of their lives. This doesn’t mean that they can’t do a weekend at their grandparent’s or an overnight at their friend’s home, but it does mean if those plans fall through, the parent scheduled to have residential time with the child will be responsible to provide care (or find a suitable alternative).
Parenting plans often (and almost always should) provide a time that the transfer from one parent to another happens. Prior to that time, unless otherwise stated, the children should go to the parent with whom they are scheduled to reside. That means that if you are to have the children from 9:00 a.m. on Monday until 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, and they get sick at 9:45 a.m. on Monday morning, it is likely you that will have to take the day off work (or figure out a suitable alternative). If one of the unmarried parents is a stay-at-home parent to other children, it might make sense to have that parent scheduled to have the children during most school hours. That way, if the kids do get sick, that parent is available to care for them until the other parent is available to take over. Specific circumstances should be discussed with a well-qualified family law attorney.