As 2020 draws to a close and families start making holiday plans, some parents will need to address how to work celebrations around their custody and visitation schedules. On top of the typical hustle and bustle of the season, you may encounter additional challenges as you try to develop a suitable holiday parenting plan. Plus, there are numerous complications in light of the continued impact of COVID-19. In tackling these complicated issues, dealing with disputes, balancing your obligations under Maryland’s best interests of the child standard, it is easy to feel overwhelmed.
Fortunately, you can overcome hurdles and still enjoy the festive season when you have a Maryland child custody lawyer to guide you in creating a workable holiday parenting plan. You may also gain some insight by reviewing some tips.
Do Let Your Current Parenting Schedule be Your Guide: When you created the existing Maryland parenting plan, either in connection with divorce or paternity proceedings, the details became part of a court order; this order is still binding on both parents, and there may be no reason to change the provisions that apply around the holiday season. Many times, this means you would alternate from the arrangement you used in 2019.
Do NOT Forget to Include Holiday Travel: You may have put some plans on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but some families will still travel to visit loved ones this season. Also, you may want to plan now for the ability to travel in the future as things change. Parents need to work the custody and visitation schedule around these trips, so it is wise to finalize plans early.
Do Consider Doubling Up on Holidays: Both parents will need to compromise regarding the parenting plan, so it is inevitable that you cannot celebrate every event with your child on the date the holiday falls. Therefore, you can double the enjoyment for yourself and your child by carrying the festivities over to a different day in each household. Dine on Thanksgiving turkey later in November, schedule multiple events to open presents, or make other arrangements for the big holiday meal.
DO NOT Overlook the School Schedule and Breaks: Since Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) continue to remain in a virtual-only model through the first semester, you must take into account your child’s school schedule. This year, the winter break is December 24, 2020 through January 1, 2021. Parents must ensure that their children have other activities and engagement until remote or potentially in-person learning resumes, which can have an effect on your own work and personal schedules.
Do Communicate Effectively: Perhaps the most effective tip for your approach to a holiday parenting schedule is making sure you remain in regular communication with your child’s other parent. Notify each other early about schedule changes, text if you will be late for a drop-off or pick-up, and touch base often about plans.
Do NOT Take Matters into Your Own Hands: Disputes over custody and visitation may arise, but it is important to comply with Maryland law if you cannot resolve them. Parents may need to go to court if they cannot reach a compromise on the details of a holiday parenting plan.
Do Reach Out to a Maryland Child Custody Attorney About Holiday Parenting Plans
Your best tip for developing a suitable holiday parenting plan and enjoying a stress-free season is retaining an experienced lawyer to assist with the process. Our team at The McKeon Law Firm is prepared to advise you, negotiate on your behalf, and represent you in court as necessary to protect your interests. To learn more about our legal services in the area of Maryland child custody and visitation laws, please contact us today. You can set up a consultation at our offices in Gaithersburg or Bethesda, MD by calling 301-417-9222 or 202-742-1800.