It is officially fall. The kids have been hitting the books for some time now and are fully acclimated to being back in school. Parents, however, are busy juggling work schedules, school schedules and of course, the never-ending list of extracurricular activities. Before a parent knows it, it is time to carve pumpkins and pick out costumes. Even if Halloween is not the biggest holiday in your home, October 31st is often the unofficial starting point of the holiday season. Because even though every lawn in town may still be littered with orange and black décor, Thanksgiving and Christmas are just lurking around the corner. Which means for many divorced parents a frenzied to do list that does not end until New Year’s Day! Before you get bogged down in the holiday madness, you will want to make sure you add one more thing to that never-ending to-do list—and that is to review your divorce documents regarding holiday parenting time. The last thing any parent needs right after Halloween is to be spooked by a disagreement over the holiday parenting schedule.
It happens every year, not just in Oklahoma, but across the country. Parents, who have been operating under a regular parenting schedule for some time are going along great and then “BOO” – the holiday’s strike! Parents, especially the newly divorced, forget that during the holidays a different schedule supersedes the regular parenting schedule. For example, you are your ex may have a fairly common schedule where you alternate spending weekends with your children. Now according to the regular parenting schedule, Thanksgiving weekend (often considered to be the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving until Sunday evening) falls on mom’s regular weekend. However, per the per the parenting agreement, 2016 is an even-ending year, and dad is to have the kids for Thanksgiving weekend. This holiday schedule would also give dad three weekends in a row with the kids. Which means mom would not have a weekend with the kids for almost a month (November 13th to December 10th).
An abrupt change like the one above may not only come as a big surprise to a parent who has not looked at his or her divorce documents in quite some time but also to a child. Children may become upset at the thought of not spending quality time with one parent (in this case mom). Often this sort of situation can lead divorced parents to attempt to remedy the situation themselves. For example, one solution to this problem may be for the parents to switch alternating weekends after Thanksgiving going forward. Most divorce documents have provisions that expressly allow parents to make such agreements. Courts also want divorced parents to work together to serve their children’s best interests.
If you and your ex agree to change a portion of your parenting schedule, the key is to make sure that the terms of the new agreement are clear. No one wants a squabble so close to gobble, gobble day! One way to do this is to make sure that all agreements are in writing and signed and dated by each parent.
If your review of your parenting agreement unearths a problem, it is imperative that you schedule an appointment to meet with experienced Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys right away. Only a seasoned Oklahoma Family Law Attorney can review your parenting agreement and advise you on your legal options. At The Handley Law Center, we understand that even when your divorce is completed troubles over parenting issues can still pop up. To see how our team of family law attorneys can help you, either through a modification or enforcement of the terms of your existing parenting agreement, contact The Handley Law Center at (405) 295-1924.