The creation of a comprehensive parenting plan is a crucial element of divorce in Rhode Island, but there are often changes and revisions necessary. It is wise to recognize this quickly and act in advance. Even though the weather might just now be starting to transition from the heat of summer to the cool of autumn, divorced parents should look toward the holidays.
The parenting plan will often cover a broad range of topics including education, disciplinary action and screen time. One factor that can either reduce arguments or lead to further disputes is the holiday schedule.
Here are four alternatives that divorced parents can explore to ensure their holidays run smoothly every year:
- Holidays that are split in half: Longer holidays toward the end of the year are often accompanied by extended time away from school. Looking at the calendar with enough notice can help parents ensure the child spends an equal amount of time with each. This can even entail spending Christmas Eve with one parent and Christmas Day with the other – as long as they live in close proximity.
- Holidays that alternate every other year: Rather than attempt to deal with a split holiday, many divorcing parents simply choose to alternate. Christmas with dad this year, for example, and next year with mom. Unfortunately, this could lead to additional complications as unforeseen challenges might arise a year in the future.
- Holidays that are celebrated twice: While it is not ideal for all families, some divorced parents choose to celebrate the major holidays twice, perhaps a week apart. This way the child gets the holiday experience with both parents without the added stress of travel.
- Holidays that have a fixed assignment: Family members will often assign different levels of significance to various holidays. Birthdays, for one parent, might be a special event and less-so for the other parent. It might be a challenging negotiation, but parents can decide, for example, that each Thanksgiving is spent with dad and every Christmas is spent with mom.
Even though it might seem early, it is wise for divorced parents to examine any issues they might have faced in past holidays. Identifying an issue early gives the parents a chance to come up with alternative solutions. Revising the holiday schedule in a parenting plan enough in advance allows the parents to make celebratory plans with the children.