Changing child custody agreement for the holidays

With Thanksgiving and other holidays quickly approaching, divorced parents in Pennsylvania need to start thinking about parenting time. There is a good chance that both parents will want to have the kids for every holiday, but this does not always work. Many parents modify their current parenting plan to accommodate the holidays, and this can take some negotiating on everyone’s part.

Live About discusses the fact that making plans for the holidays will usually require some sacrifices by both parents. Discussions should begin early on, and both parents should consider what they really want before talking to the ex. Prepare to compromise and consider alternative ways to celebrate holidays. This may look like one parent gets the kids on Christmas Eve and the other Christmas Day, or it may be that the kids get to celebrate the holidays the week before or after in addition to the actual date. Exes who are able to get along may even choose to include each other in certain situations.

Parents who get through the holidays with the least emotional letdowns are those who look at the bigger picture. They focus on other traditions surrounding the holidays and enjoy the time they have to themselves.

Once parents decide on an alternative schedule, FindLaw gives tips how to draft the agreement without having to go to court. The modification agreement should include

  • Details, such as when, where and duration, for each holiday 
  • How the parents will make the kid exchange for each holiday
  • Date of agreement
  • Parents’ signatures

A signed copy of the original should be in the possession of each parent. This helps deal with any fallout if one parent does not honor the agreement.