For those of you that have children, this is the time of year when you can take a breath and get back into the swing of things now that school is back in session. Summer break can often be more stressful than parents anticipate and for parents who are in the midst of a divorce the stress level is magnified. Summer time-sharing with a child and his/her parents can result in a long and frustrating eight to ten weeks.
With children back in school, many parents relax and hit the reset button. The “normal” schedule is back in full effect. The key problem with this approach is that in a very short period of time the holidays will be upon us and those weeks go by considerably fast. When parties separate, the ability to agree on holiday time-sharing is often extremely difficult. One of the key errors parties make is waiting to have the conversation with the other parent until days before the actual holiday or the release day from the child’s school. I must convey to you that this is a severe miscalculation.
For parties that have a fully executed Parenting Plan the allocation of holiday time-sharing is enumerated in a document that can be enforced by the Court. For those of you that do not have a Parenting Plan, well, you probably have a sound understanding of how frustrating this process can be. I encourage those of you in this situation to work to resolve holiday time-sharing by Joint Stipulation; oral agreements are not binding, you will want something in writing or a Court order. In many cases parties will have selective memory about conversations regarding time-sharing. The goal is always to reach a full agreement and have a formal Parenting Plan, but do not miss out on time-sharing by refusing to reach short term agreements because you want to hold out for the all-inclusive global deal.
The old saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” resonates here. If you procrastinate and fail to prepare a Holiday Time-Sharing Schedule then you will almost certainly have issues. If you have no time-sharing agreement then start working on one today, even if it isn’t a full Parenting Plan. Remember, children want to maximize their time with both parents so work diligently to make this happen. Most importantly, have a Florida lawyer help you prepare the agreement or at minimum review your agreement. The holiday time-sharing issue is not viewed as an emergency to the courts, so the possibility of securing a hearing the week before school break is slim to none. Time is of the essence to work out the time-sharing for the holidays, if you cannot work it out, you must attempt to secure a hearing in October, and you will be lucky if it is heard prior to your child(ren) being dismissed from school for their break. Remember, the court docket is full, so do not wait. When you’re going through your worst, we are at our Best!
If you want assistance in resolving holiday time-sharing please contact us and let us begin working to help you today. For more information on time-sharing issues please contact the law firm of Schwam-Wilcox & Associates.