The holiday season (basically the last two months of the year) is a joyful time for many families. But for divorced couples in Wisconsin who share custody and placement of their children, the holidays can be filled with stress, misunderstandings, resentment and even conflict. Thankfully, things don’t need to be this way. With some careful legal work and planning, holidays can run as smoothly as the rest of the year.
Why holidays can be problematic for divorced families
Both parents naturally want to spend major holidays with their children, but not typically with one another. Therefore, compromises and trade-offs are necessary (parents taking the children on Thanksgiving on alternating years, for instance).
Even if you think you know the plan, travel snags, illness and other unforeseen complications can arise at the last moment, making it difficult to stick to the schedule. This, in turn, can create conflicts and resentments that put children in the middle and ruin the holidays for everyone.
How can these problems be resolved or avoided? The answer is a thorough and a detailed parenting plan.
Invest planning time and effort during divorce
Couples eager to get through a divorce may assume that they need only a basic parenting plan (custody and placement agreement). In some cases, clients want to keep the details vague, fearing that a strict placement schedule will be difficult to follow and might cause disagreements. However, the opposite is often true.
Your parenting plan can be as detailed as you and your co-parent are willing to make it. And by making more decisions during the drafting of the agreement, you are less likely to encounter confusion or conflicts that eventually bring you back to court.
Because the holidays are typically when parents most want to see their children, it is worth the time and effort to make an especially detailed placement schedule for this time of year. On top of that, your parenting plan can (and typically should) include provisions on how to resolve any disputes and how to communicate about problems and unforeseen circumstances.
Seek help from an experienced attorney
If you are about go through the divorce process, it is wise to choose an experienced attorney who can help you create a detailed parenting plan that protects your and your children’s interests. If you have already finalized your divorce and are finding that your current parenting agreement just isn’t working when it comes to holiday placement, it may be worth revisiting the agreement and petitioning the court to make changes so that next year can go much more smoothly and peacefully.