Normally these cold, overcast days and dark weather leave us a bit glum. Nevertheless, for parents who have children who are not in a relationship with the other parent (by paternity and the relationship did not last or divorced parents), it’s time to think about the Spring Holidays, Holy days and the Summer and, well of course, parenting time. On the upside, on February 2, 2019, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, so it should all be a little brighter and happier soooooon . . . .an early Spring is coming so look forward to sun and fun with the kids sooner!
So, in divided families now is the time to pull out your divorce decree, any modification orders, and Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines (“IPTGs”) and make arrangements with your child(ren)’s parent. The official State and Federal Holidays (although not every family, employer, or employer celebrates or recognizes them) are Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day which usually brings all kids from one school year, through the summer, and to the next school year even with blended schools. Within these legal holidays are religious holidays (e.g., Easter) and family traditions and events for some families, ranging from the Indy 500, King’s Island to an annual summer Florida trip.
For this reason, even though it is just mid-February, with divided families it is NOW the time to make plans and agree with your co-parent or risk “train-wrecking” these important holidays, events and traditions. The place to begin is with knowing your orders and the IPTGs (make sure you have the right version). Do you have to notify summer parenting time by a certain day or the custodial parent select the summer time? The more you can resolve on your own by cooperation, the more likely it is both parents give and take to give the kids the best times until next school year. Further, if you know one parent has a chronic trait, like he/she is always early or late or a stickler for the schedule, ask yourself if you should just accept it to make the most of this precious time? Is it worth the fight or is an agreement best? If you cannot work these special dates out now, this gives you and your counsel time to reach agreement formally with opposing counsel or go to court in advance. Courts are not set up to hear constant avoidable emergencies—and this darkens the trip even if the Court can accommodate you. Further, there are a number of other legal tools that are available to acrimonious parents that may be implemented now to ensure these holidays and traditions are maximized—not missed--such as a parenting coordinator.
So, the takeaway is plan NOW for the holidays, religious events, summer, and back-to-school times, again, NOW. Doing so will save you grief (and probably money) in the long run and allow you to seek legal intervention in advance versus a contempt or enforcement action after the event passes and is lost to time. Winning a contempt action in the Fall is little reward for missing Disney Land. Start the conversation now with your co-parent or attorney as your situation dictates. We hope you find this helpful and we wish you and your family all the best in 2019. Have a good Spring and Summer. And we hope Phil is right and Spring is right around the corner!