Family Law & Criminal Defense Attorney

Can You Modify a Holiday Parenting Plan?

With some San Antonio public schools open now, it may seem like there less need for parents to make holiday parenting plan modifications for interstate or international vacations. However, for many parents, smaller trips, like visiting relatives for Thanksgiving or winter break, still warrant changes to parenting plans. Today, we discuss how to modify such a parenting plan to accommodate your holiday plans this holiday season.

A key component of a divorce agreement is establishing a holiday parenting plan. Such a plan covers matters such as child custody and visitation during the holiday season, mapping out who is responsible for what during the celebrations. It is common to want to adjust this plan as circumstances change and the child gets older. If you want to modify your parenting plans, you will need to notify the other parent and take the necessary steps to file the modification with the court. An experienced attorney can assist you with this part of the process if you require legal counsel.

Reasons for Modifying a Holiday Parenting Plan

As the circumstances present when you first created this parenting plan may have changed, it is often encouraged, when possible, to modify a holiday parenting plan when appropriate. Some reasons for modifying such a plan might include but are not limited to the following:

  • Relocation
  • Job change
  • School change
  • Unfit parenting status
  • Remarriage
  • Maturation of child requiring a more age appropriate schedule
  • Negative effects on the child’s development

How to Modify a Holiday Parenting Plan

The first step to modifying a holiday parenting plan or any parenting plan in general, is to consult with an experienced family law attorney to ensure you understand your rights and the process itself. You do not want to accidentally make a mistake with your parenting plan and must deal with contempt and/or enforcement issues in the future. The second step is to notify the other parent in writing of what you would like to modify. He/she must agree with the changes and confirm this modification with a signature. Next, you will file your modification with the court.

What Are Some Important Holiday Dates to Consider When Creating a Parenting Plan?

Here is a general idea of some of the days you might consider when creating a holiday parenting plan:

  • Your child’s birthday
  • School holidays that happen throughout the year (an example would be Christmas or Thanksgiving)
  • Holidays where the child typically gets time off school
  • Religious holidays
  • Cultural holidays
  • Your birthday and the other parent’s birthday

The more you and your ex-spouse can compromise and work together, the better and more workable your holiday schedule will be. This allows your child to spend more time with both of you during the holidays.

Why You Should Not Improvise a Holiday Parenting Plan

There is a reason why each state requires parents to come up with a holiday schedule to reduce stress and tension within the family. If you feel you and your ex-spouse can work out a holiday schedule on your own, you may risk having to deal with conflicts during what your child probably considers the best time of the year. Here are some conflicts that could arise without a holiday schedule in place:

  • Parents cannot agree on who will have the child at their residence for a certain holiday
  • Parents have no idea when to pick up and drop off the child
  • Parents cannot resolve their issues on their own and thus fight in front of the child
  • Parents violating the established plan as it is not legally binding

You holiday parenting plan can keep visitation fair, encouraging a stress-free environment.

If you need help modifying or enforcing your holiday parenting plan, feel free to contact our firm online or call us at (210) 761-4943.