Mediation can be faster, less expensive and result in much less animosity than a trial in a divorce with children. A parenting plan can be created in mediation and the mediator’s role is to help both parties come to an agreement. It is easy for parents to get caught up in the emotion of the divorce and there is real pain in thinking about not having your children for even one minute, let alone every other Christmas or every other weekend.
Before you meet with a mediator, it is a good idea to put your priorities down on paper. What holidays are important to your family? No, you can’t say every holiday. Maybe your family doesn’t really do anything for the Memorial Day, but you always have a neighborhood parade and picnic for the 4th of July. No two parenting plans are like because families celebrate some days and not others. In some families, birthdays are a big deal, and others don’t assign birthdays to either parent. The kids just stay where they are according to the regular schedule. It’s a lot to think about which is why it’s best to give some thought before you are sitting in room with your soon-to-ex-spouse and the emotion clouds your thought process.
Be aware too of what is important to the children. For example, if they have always celebrated Halloween with a particular group and it happens to be in your ex-spouse’s neighborhood, maybe you could let them stay in the neighborhood each year and celebrate a different holiday each year with you. You might want to consider who will be responsible for child care on school holidays as well as whether one of you doesn’t work on those days and can spend the day with the children. You can also make a parenting plan that doesn’t account for days off from school, or that changes as the children get older.
Below is a list of holidays and other days that you might want to include in a parenting plan: Children’s Birthdays Parents’ Birthdays New Year’s Eve/Day Valentine’s Day President’s Day Martin Luther King Jr. Day Spring Break Memorial Day 4th of July Labor Day Summer Vacation MEA break Halloween Thanksgiving Religious Holidays Mother’s/Father’s Day Winter school break.
If you want some help putting together a parenting plan that works for your family before going to mediation, contact Christine Callahan and ask about limited representation. She can help you make a plan that works in the best interests of the children and is best for your family’s circumstances.
Information provided in these pages, including blog posts, is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult an attorney, or contact Christine Callahan at firstname.lastname@example.org for more case specific information.