Parenting Plan Tips To Avoid Child Custody Disputes This Holiday Season
The winter holidays are right around the corner, and families across Pennsylvania are busy shopping, cooking, and engaging in other preparations for the festivities. For some, there is the added challenge of transitioning children between two households in a co-parenting situation. The schedule may work smoothly the rest of the year, but child custody and parenting time are more likely to be disrupted during the holidays. Though the Pennsylvania law on parenting plans covers the basic requirements, it is the details – along with the stress of the season – that can lead to disputes.
Fortunately, it is possible to sidestep disagreements when you account for all foreseeable contingencies in your parenting plan. Even when you cannot cover them all, there are strategies for resolving conflict without court involvement. You can count on a Carbon County child custody lawyer to guide you, and read on for some information on avoiding disputes over the holiday parenting plan.
Provisions to Include in Your Parenting Plan: The Pennsylvania statute requires parties to cover a schedule for personal care and control of the child, including the parenting time, holidays, and vacations. However, some parents do not realize that it is critical to provide as much detail as possible on:
- A list of all holidays the parents plan to celebrate in their respective households throughout the year;
- Dates for personal holidays, such as birthdays, Mother’s and Father’s Day;
- A schedule of where your children will be on each of the dates that you listed, attempting to keep time balanced between the parents;
- How the schedule may alternate for certain holidays every year;
- The times and dates for each holiday period, to streamline transportation and make pick-ups and drop-offs clear; and,
- What happens if the schedule is disrupted because of illness, a parent’s work obligations, or other unforeseen circumstances.
Options for Resolving Schedule Disputes: Pennsylvania child custody laws also require parents to provide a procedure for making changes, resolving disputes, and dealing with breaches of the court’s order. If you were properly specific with your parenting plan, it may contain information on what to do about disagreements over the parenting plan around the holidays. When the parenting plan is silent on the matter, the parties still have access to dispute resolution options such as:
Settlement Discussions: Parents may not see eye-to-eye, but conducting discussions through their respective attorneys is often productive for reaching an agreement.
Mediation: Participating in this process is also useful for smoothing over conflicts. With a trained mediator to oversee the proceeding and guide the parties in conversation, it is often possible to compromise on the holiday schedule.
Discuss Dispute Resolution with a Pennsylvania Child Custody Attorney
It is always wise to account for all possible disruptions in the schedule, but you cannot anticipate every contingency when preparing your parenting plan. At the Law Office of Kim M. Gillen, P.C., our team is dedicated to helping you smooth over conflicts and avoid contested hearings on child custody. Please contact us today to set up a consultation at our location in Lehighton, PA.