A week from today, families around the country will be sitting down to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday together. Traditions, of course, may vary, but the highlight of the holiday season is getting to spend time with friends and loved ones. If you are a divorced parent, however, making plans for the holiday can be complicated as you will probably need to coordinate your intentions with those of the other parent regarding who gets to spend the day with your children.
According to Illinois law, a parenting plan approved by the court will include a schedule for each parent’s time with the child. Most such plans will also contain provisions that address how and where the child will spend certain holidays, depending on which celebrations are important to which parent. For example, your parenting plan may specify that your child will spend Thanksgiving with you in even years—2016, 2018, etc.—and Christmas with the other parent. In odd years, the holidays may be reversed. If the situation allows, your plan may, alternatively, give you the early part of each holiday with your child and the later part of the day to the other parent.
Some parenting plans, however, leave such decisions to be made on a year-by-year basis. If this is the case for you, it is important to make your arrangements soon.
Travel and Ancillary Considerations
Each year, millions of Americans will travel significant distances to spend holidays with out-of-town friends and family. To ensure that your children can participate in the festivities, you may need to carve out more than just the one day to make it happen. Talk with the other parent about taking a couple days to celebrate Thanksgiving in another state. Let him or her know that you have a safe, comfortable place to stay and that you will be a positive role model for your children throughout the trip.
You may need to compromise and offer a similar consideration in the future—another holiday, for example. Or, you may be willing to sacrifice an upcoming weekend with your children in exchange for the extra parenting time to facilitate your travel.
It is also important to keep an open mind if the other parent comes to you with a similar request. You can help facilitate your child’s enjoyment of the holiday season by being flexible and accommodating to the other parent. Doing so can also help foster a dynamic of trust that will extend well beyond Thanksgiving and Christmas.
If you have questions about making a plan for spending the holidays with your children, contact an experienced Orland Park family law attorney. Call Kezy & Associates at 708-518-8200 for a free, no-obligation consultation at one of our three convenient locations.