The holidays are quickly approaching--and it not only means more than decorations and school pageants. For divorced or unmarried parents, it also means inevitable changes to parenting time schedules that can make the holidays less joyful if not addressed ahead of time. Under any parenting time plan, the holidays can be difficult to coordinate, but below are a few pointers to know to help make your holidays happier.
1. Know which guidelines your family is under.
The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines (IPTGs)1 are often used as a parenting time or holiday time guide. Be sure to review your Decree or Order to determine if your parenting time plan and/or holiday parenting time fall under the IPTGs. Sometimes, even if the parties share joint custody, one parent may be designated the “custodial” parent for purposes of holiday parenting time.
Also, the IPTGs are frequently amended and updated, and the IPTGs presently in effect, may not be the guidelines that your parenting time and holiday plans are under if your Order or Decree is older. Be sure to review your Order carefully, as it may be too late once the holiday arrives.
2. Look ahead for travel plans.
If a parent lives out of state and the Child is to travel to the non-custodial parent for Winter Break or a parent is planning to go out of the country for holiday parenting time, travel concerns can quickly create stressful and expensive issues. Try to coordinate with the other parent as to plans as early as possible to address prices, times, if the child needs to be accompanied on the flight, et cetera.
Additionally, if a parent plans to go out of state with the Child, remember under the IPTGs, he or she shall provide an itinerary or the contact information of a person who knows where the Child is and who can be in touch.2 In issues involving passports and international travel, both parents must often be involved in the process to allow the Child to leave the country, so plan ahead to coordinate, anticipating some challenges in working together.3
3. Plan for Childcare.
Certainly, it is wonderful if the parent whose holiday time it is has the availability to be with the Child for the whole break without work or other commitments. However, there are often times during the holidays when one parent or the other is not available. The opportunity for additional parenting time allows the other parent to care for the Child if they are available and able to and builds good-will for the future.4
If the other parent is not available or otherwise cannot care for the child, the parent may need to look into a camp program, other family members to help, or contact friends to arrange play dates or otherwise. Beginning this process sooner rather than later can save last minute struggles to find childcare, and can avoid arguments about opportunities for additional parenting time or childcare.
Preparing for the holidays and all that goes along with parenting time can help avoid last minute issues that are difficult to remedy during the holidays. Holiday issues often come up when the Courts are closed, and can therefore not be addressed until after the issue has occurred. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys practice throughout the State of Indiana and understand the significance of holiday parenting time matters and planning for same. We hope this blog assists you. This blog post is written by Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates and is not intended as specific legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.