Articles Tagged with traditions

Parenting plans should be drafted to fit the needs of the particular children whose lives (or residential schedules at least) will be governed by them.  This includes spending extra time thinking about how the child will be best served during their winter break from school and during the winter holidays.  There are many different ways the winter breaks and holidays can be scheduled within a parenting plan.  Below please find a few examples:

  1. Break Split Down the Middle.   For some families, the importance of the number of days of the break spent with either parent supersedes the importance of any winter holidays the family might celebrate.  This is also the choice of families who choose not to celebrate holidays.
  2. Break Split Down the Middle but Include Holidays.  This plan is similar to the plan described above, but also provides that the child will reside with one parent or the other for the holidays the family celebrates.  This plan can work well as it ensures nearly equal time spent with both parents, and also allows for alternating holiday schedules so both parents get an opportunity to celebrate with the children.  However, it can also mean more transitions for the children, and may be difficult in cases where the parents live far apart.

After Halloween, Thanksgiving will be right around the corner. This holiday is included in Washington’s Parenting Plan Pattern form. Parents can choose to modify the form to schedule the holiday in a way that makes sense for their children (in rare circumstances, the court may choose to overrule the parents’ decisions). For many two-home (i.e., unmarried or separated parents) families this means the children will spend the Thanksgiving holiday with only one of their parents. And, some parents will be spending the holiday without their kids. Families choose to schedule the Thanksgiving holiday in a number of ways. Here are some of the ways two-home families choose to schedule their Thanksgiving holiday.

  1. Only the Thursday. Some parents choose to schedule the Thanksgiving holiday as just one day. The child (or children) will be schedule to reside with one parent for Thanksgiving Day and then the child will resume their normal holiday schedule. This is generally the default.
  2. Thursday through Friday. In this schedule the child is with the parent scheduled to have the child for the Thursday Thanksgiving and following Friday. This means that the child returns to the normal residential schedule for the weekend.

For many unmarried parents, the most difficult part of sharing residential time with their child’s other parent is the holidays spent away from their children. While you may not be able to celebrate with trick-or-treating, there are other things you can do to make the Halloween season special. Here are some ideas for celebrating Halloween when you won’t be with your children on the evening of October 31st:

  • Make a special event out of decorating for Halloween. Make a special Halloween-inspired dinner.
  • Take your kids to Great Wolf Lodge, or another place that has a month-long Halloween celebration.
  • If your work offers a Halloween celebration for kids on a day other than the 31st, see if you can arrange (with the child’s other parent) bringing your child to your work-sponsored event.
  • Let your child dress up in their costume on another day in October and bring them trick-or-treating at family members or friends’ homes (warn friends and family in advance so they are prepared).
  • Watch a fun Halloween movie with your kids – costumes optional.
  • Throw a kids Halloween party while you have your child.

While you will probably still miss your kids on October 31st, these ideas can help you and your kids celebrate the season in a fun and special way.

If you have any questions about your parenting plan, holiday schedule, or other family law questions. Please contact us.