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Parenting Plans: Holidays and Special Occasions

The first year following a divorce or separation can be difficult for parents and children. How will they spend the summer? Which parent gets to take the children on vacation? Who takes the children trick-or-treating?

These are all issues that parents should formalize in a parenting plan. It may not solve all the issues or special circumstances that come up, but it can lay out the blueprint for how to handle and resolve any problems that may occur.

As posted on the Canada.com website, there are many different circumstances that can affect where children will spend their time on special holidays. It’s very common for parents to alternate between the big holidays – for example, each parent gets to have the children every other Christmas.

Some parents also allow for certain negotiations. For example, if it’s Spouse A’s turn to have the children for Christmas, but Spouse B’s relatives are hosting a special milestone birthday combined with Christmas, the parents may allow a swap in their schedule to accommodate this special circumstance. The trade-off could be anything from more long weekends for Spouse A in the new year, or an extended period spending time with the children in the summer.

Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Hallowe’en, the first day of school, camping trips, vacations outside of the city or country – these are all special occasions for children, and parents are advised to try their best to make sure they put the interests of the children first before their attitudes towards each other.

To create an effective, reasonable parenting plan, it’s best to get the advice of a seasoned family lawyer. He or she can help you decide if something is fair, unfair or requires more clarity in order to create a parenting plan that works for both parties.

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