In about two weeks, families throughout the United States will get together to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. As you might expect, traditions often vary from one family to the next, but for most people, the most important part of the holiday season is the opportunity to visit with friends and loved ones—many who have traveled a great distance to be part of the festivities. If you are a divorced parent, however, planning for the holidays can be difficult as you most likely will need to coordinate your plans with those of your child’s other parent.
Illinois law provides that a parenting plan following a divorce must include a parenting time schedule. Must parenting plans also include provisions that indicate where and how the child will spend certain holidays, depending on which holidays are a priority for which parent. For example, if Thanksgiving is a major holiday among your extended family but not so much for the other parent’s family, your agreement could stipulate that your child is to stay with you each year at Thanksgiving. In other situations, an alternating or split holiday schedules may be more appropriate.
It is also possible for your parenting plan to be silent on the issue of holidays or leave such considerations to be determined by mutual agreement each year. If this describes your parenting plan, you will need to make your plans soon.
Travel and Other Considerations
Each year, millions of Americans travel significant distances to spend holidays with friends and family in other states. If travel will be part of your holiday plans and you want your child to come with you, you may need to carve out several days day to make it happen. Communicate with your ex-spouse about taking a few 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.
In return, you may need to offer a similar consideration in the future—another holiday, for example. Alternatively, maybe you would be willing to sacrifice an upcoming weekend with your children in exchange for the extra time to allow your child to travel with you.
You should also be ready to keep an open mind if the other parent approaches you regarding traveling with your child. While it may not be your ideal situation, being accommodating and flexible can allow your child to make the most of the holiday season. It also can help create trust between you and the other parent that can last far beyond Thanksgiving and Christmas.
If you have concerns about how to exercise your rights to spend holidays with your children, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation with a member of our team today.