The holidays are special times for most families, including those parents who have not married or have divorced: Special school events. Holiday parties. Family gatherings. All of this occurs with a lot of corresponding planning, from purchasing gifts to cooking meals. For parents who are not married, coordinating schedules can he a major source of conflict. This blog puts forth five important tips divorce attorneys use to help their clients avoid most conflict during the holidays:
Know the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines: The Indiana Supreme Court has adopted the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines to set forth basics of holiday parenting time; each divorced parent is bound by these as a general principle. Knowing the version of the Guidelines your order uses--and what the Guidelines actually contain--is the first step to avoiding conflict.
Review your orders: The Guidelines are just that—guides for parenting time. Trial courts and the parties may agree and have ordered a different schedule, including for holiday parenting time. These are more specific and control over the more general Guidelines. And later orders that change parenting time control over other orders. So, avoiding holiday parenting time conflict means a parent must understand the Guidelines and his or her orders.
Work out potential issues on in advance: The Indiana Supreme Court and trial courts always want what is in the children’s best interests. Therefore, if a special event occurs or a need for a change to the Holiday parenting time occurs based on the Guidelines and/or orders, then communicating this and reaching an agreement in advance—not as it occurs is the key for a co-parenting relationship.
Be timely: Time is a precious commodity in all times of life, but the Holidays put unique pressures on everyone. Being late to a drop off or pickup is the way to create havoc in the other parent’s life and plans and often causes long-term ill will and inflexibility and the next time a need occurs for a change, which may be a time when the former late parent needs a deviation. Truly co-parenting requires the spirit of cooperation and makes the parents’ and children’s lives more meaningful.
Give in and be flexible: Spending the time arguing over a “necessary” change in holiday parenting and being flexible is key. While schedule changes and deviations should not be tolerated if this is just to interfere with the other parent’s time, legitimate needs to change the schedule should be carefully considered and accommodated if possible.
We, the attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, hope these five simple tips for smooth transitions and child-exchanges help you make your Holiday a “happy” one. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys handle all types of child custody cases throughout the State of Indiana. This blog post is intended for general educational purposes and not specific legal advice. It is advertising material.