Visitation arrangements get complicated when holidays and vacations come around. Planning for who goes where and when, now, eliminates future problems.
- Visitation schedules are now a requirement in Maryland.
- Account for holidays and vacations at the start of any parenting plan negotiation.
- No holiday or vacation schedule? You can modify the arrangement to include them after they’re “final.”
Visitation Schedules – Maryland Now Expects a Parenting Plan
The procedural rule came from the Maryland Court of Appeals. Focusing custody proceedings on the best interest of the child or children.
A parenting plan handles everything. From whom will make major decisions about a child to when each parent spends time with a child. They are the guide for how parents will handle the kids after divorce or separation.
These plans are also very helpful for couples who are unmarried and have children. Allowing each parent to come to an agreement on how to raise a child. A fair plan creates harmony between children and parents.
Parenting plans eliminate future conflict with regards to the kids. Plus, they are agreements made by the parents, setting clear guidelines and expectations.
As parents, the child’s interests, needs, and routines are better known to you. Making a parenting plan is better handled by the parents, not the court, which does not know about the child.
This form is a detailed guide on all consideration’s parents need to think about as they figure out a plan that works best for them both. Determining the type of custody sought helps in this process.
Knowing the custodial and non-custodial parent or if the arrangement is based on shared custody helps shape the parenting plan. This is a decision that may need mediation.
Once the type of custody is known, then a visitation schedule can be made. A comprehensive schedule eliminates stress. And also breaks down when, and how the child will be with each parent.
Factor in Holidays and Vacations for Stress Free Visitation
The most contentious part of divorce and separation when kids are involved, is the visitation schedule. Both parents want and deserve time with their kids.
Any good parenting plan must factor in the future, especially with young children.
As children age, needs and interests change. Planning ahead for those can increase a parenting plans effectiveness. And, making sure that both parents have fair holiday and vacation time figured in.
Doing so allows holidays and vacations to be spent enjoying time together. Not time, arguing over who gets the kids this year or when. A parenting plan with a comprehensive visitation schedule, fosters collaborative co-parenting.
It also allows for family planning around that schedule. So, both parents extended families get a chance to spend time with a child, too. Knowing the schedule ahead of time, saves headaches in the future with visitation.
Families will already know the schedule and can plan events accordingly. Imagine every year having to figure out who gets the kids on Thanksgiving. Or, if the second week in July is OK for a beach vacation this year.
Constant conflict wears a person down and stresses people out. Why do that to yourself when there is a better solution?
Every situation is different, but here are a few examples of how holiday visitations work:
- Alternate holidays – Choose the holidays each parent will have the children in even years. Then swap them on the odd years. Each parent only goes missing a holiday with a child one year in a row.
- Split the holidays in half – Each parent gets the children for half the holiday. A lot of coordinating goes into this option. You or the kids don’t want to spend the whole day traveling.
- Schedule the holiday twice – Arranging the time for each parent to celebrate holidays. For example, one parent does Easter the weekend before and the other gets Easter Sunday.
- Assign specific holidays – Celebrate the same holidays every year. A great option for couples who come from different religious backgrounds. Such as a Jewish parent and a Christian parent, where the child goes to one for Hanukkah and the other for Christmas.
Vacations are another opportunity for parents to spend extra time with a child. Each parent’s personal vacation time availability will differ, but parents can make things less date specific.
Arrangements like advance notice of a vacation. Choosing specific months each parent can schedule a summer vacation. A couple of examples of visitation for vacations.
Having arrangements heading into a divorce or separation erases stress when it comes to the kids. The end of the relationship is difficult and stressful enough.
Plus, the kids don’t have anything to do with the end of the relationship. Remove them from the divorce proceedings. Agreeing beforehand keeps their lives moving as smoothly as possible during rough seas.
Since the need for a parenting plan is new in Maryland, some parents may not have worked out a beneficial visitation schedule. There is still an opportunity to create a fair visitation arrangement.
Modifying a Custody Arrangement for Equitable Holidays and Vacation
Times change and laws change. What once worked for visitation no longer does. The solution is through modification.
Part of what is in the best interest of the child is having decent time with each parent. Before 2020 Maryland had no parenting plan condition. The court had the ultimate say in what was in the best interest. It was not a shared decision between the parents and the court.
Now, parents can come to a much more equitable arrangement thanks to the parenting plan rule. For anyone who thinks their visitation or custody arrangement is either unfair or outdated, modification is the best bet.
Requesting a modification allows the parties to rework the arrangement. Now hashing out holiday visitations and vacation time can take place.
Plus, as they say, time heals all wounds. Now that the divorce is no longer fresh, emotions are removed from making fair arrangements. A much fairer agreement is attainable when some time has passed.
The Law Office of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, LLC family attorneys have the knowledge and know-how to modify custody arrangements and develop fair parenting plans.
Our attorneys keep the focus on what’s best for the kids and parents, helping establish a base for collaborative co-parenting. Schedule a free initial consultation today to learn about your specific situation.