While 2020 has been a trying, uncertain year for everyone, many families are looking forward to the winter holidays and a fresh start for 2021. However, in addition to the hustle and bustle that typically accompanies the season, co-parents who share custody and visitation of minor children must also address their holiday parenting agreement. You will certainly face many of the same challenges that you do in any given year, but the COVID-19 pandemic is sure to disrupt some of your plans as well. Even if you and your child’s other parent were diligent in crafting your New York parenting plan, you probably never anticipated the current reality.
Fortunately, you can still enjoy the season when you retain a New York child custody and visitation attorney to advise you and assist with your holiday parenting agreement. You might also benefit from reviewing some tips on how to approach the topic.
- Identify Key Dates and Events. Initially, you should get the big picture of your holiday season by writing down the celebrations and events that you typically observe every year. Take a look at what you did in 2019 and alternate the dates, which may already be required under the terms of your current parenting agreement. If either parent has plans to travel, note these dates as well.
- Remember School Closure: In addition to key holiday events, you should also consider how your child’s school calendar will work into your schedule. Regardless of whether you have chosen solely remote, in-person, or a blended approach for the year, schools are closed December 24, 2020 to January 1, 2021 by order of the New York City Department of Education.
- Float Important Celebrations. The calendar may say one thing about when a holiday falls, but you always have the option of celebrating on a different date. Children are especially excited about this approach since they get to enjoy many festivities twice. Make a point to stay true to the traditions that you would for that particular holiday, just as if you were observing it according to the calendar date.
- Appreciate the Value of Compromise. Above all, keep in mind that your holiday parenting schedule is not a win-lose scenario. Co-parents must be willing to cooperate regarding custody and visitation issues, always striving to comply with New York’s standard on best interests of the child. A failure to compromise may mean trips to court to have the judge resolve disagreements, and the proceedings can put a true damper on everyone’s holiday spirit.
- Be Flexible. Closely tied to compromise is a willingness to accommodate the needs and requests of others whenever possible. Schedules can change, emergencies may erupt, and other contingencies can impact your holiday parenting plan, but unforeseeable events do not have to ruin the season if both co-parents can remain flexible.
- Seek Legal Options When Necessary: If you are unable to resolve disputes or cannot reach a suitable holiday parenting agreement, do not take matters into your own hands. You may need to go to court for a modification of custody or visitation, and there can be consequences if you violate the legal requirements.
- Rely on a New York Child Custody and Visitation Lawyer for Legal Help.
Considering the hurdles you may encounter with your holiday parenting agreement, it is wise to work with an experienced attorney who can explain the relevant legal concepts. Our team at The Mandel Law Firm will advocate on your behalf in negotiations, but we are ready to represent you in court if it becomes necessary to protect your parental interests. For more information, please call (646) 770-3868 or visit us online to set up a consultation at our offices in Manhattan.