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Can You Modify a Holiday Parenting Plan?

One of the important components of a divorce is generating a holiday parenting plan. Such a plan provides structure during the holiday season, making it easier on parents – especially ones new to co-parenting. However, what happens when circumstances change, and you want to modify a holiday parenting plan? How do you make a modification? Perhaps one parent wants to take the children snowboarding this year, or the kids are old enough to sleep over at their friend’s house. Today, we discuss how to modify a holiday parenting plan to accommodate your holiday plans.

Why Would you Modify a Holiday Parenting Plan?

It is not uncommon to want to modify a holiday parenting plan as circumstances change and your children get older. Some reasons you may modify a plan could include the following:

  • Relocation
  • Desire to take an extended family vacation
  • Change which parent has the children on certain holidays
  • School change
  • Unfit parenting status
  • Remarriage
  • Maturation of child requiring a more age appropriate schedule
  • Negative effects on the child’s development due to the current plan

As children get older and mature, they may want to spend the holidays with their friends. Additionally, holiday events that young children are fond of, including trick or treating and Christmas caroling are not going to be a favorite among teenage boys and girls.

Steps to Take to Modify a Holiday Parenting Plan

You can modify a parenting plan once it is approved in family court. To accomplish this, you must show that the current plan no longer meets your children’s needs. The first step to modify a parenting plan is to consult with an experienced family lawyer to ensure your modification is legal. It would also be extremely helpful to familiarize yourself with the process in the event you need to make modifications in the future.

Generally, the process of modifying a parenting plan is as follows:

  • Complete the appropriate paperwork to file a modification
  • Supply supporting documentation as to why you are requesting the changes
  • File the paperwork with your local court
  • Notify the other parent about the modification and deliver a copy of the paperwork to him/her
  • Appear at the hearing to answer any questions/concerns about any modifications requested

Your co-parent must agree to the modifications and confirm them with a signature before they are considered valid.

What Are Some Important Dates to Consider When Generating a Parenting Plan?

It is advisable to consider other important dates as well as holiday dates when creating or modifying a parenting plan. Here is a general idea of some of the days you might consider:

  • Your child’s birthday
  • Each parent’s birthday
  • Religious holidays
  • Cultural celebrations
  • School holidays (such as winter break)
  • Vacation time

You should take your child’s school schedule in consideration as well before planning vacations and other holiday celebrations. The best parenting plan takes the child’s and both parents’ needs into account to, hopefully, reduce stress and disputes around important times of the year.

What to Know When Modifying a Parenting Plan

If you and your co-parent have decided to modify your current holiday parenting plan, remember to keep the needs of your child first. The court will not approve any changes unless it feels doing so would be for the betterment of the child.

Your revisions or modifications should also be age appropriate for your child. If your child is mature enough to express his/her own interests, you may want to ask for their input. They could add valuable insight.

The more you and your co-parent can work together on adjusting your parenting plan, the better. While this is not always possible, it is helpful to be on the same page as parents for your child’s sake.

If you need help modifying your holiday parenting plan, contact our firm online or call us at (512) 768-9737.

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