The Fourth of July is this weekend, one of the major U.S. holidays on the calendar and if you’re like me, images of swimming pools and backyard barbeques come to mind. Living in Arizona means staying cool is a must, but it can help trying to catch the local fireworks show despite the heat. Unfortunately, holidays can be anything but idyllic for parents sharing custody of children. I’ve put together a few tips for divorced parents to keep in mind this holiday and those holidays in the future.
Hopefully, your parenting time schedule is very clear regarding your holiday schedule with your children, including drop-off and pick-up times for each holiday and which holidays are yours in the odd numbered years and which are yours in the even numbered years. If your custody and parenting time agreement is vague and leaves room for interpretation, consider revising the agreement through mediation or with your attorney to include times that work for both households. A vague custody agreement can often lead to unnecessary tension and disagreement, and even litigation.
Don’t make your child feel guilty if you are not going to be together on the actual holiday. It’s fine to tell your child you miss him or her but try to focus on making the child feel happy and excited about what is planned. Emphasize that you will celebrate with him or her on another day.
Don’t plan too much and don’t set expectations too high if your child will be with you on the holiday. Focus on enjoying the time you spend with your child. Too many activities on a certain day can be overwhelming for both you and your child.
If your child is not going to be with you, make plans for yourself. Find things to keep you busy so you aren’t thinking about not being with your child.
Create new traditions with your child. Don’t try to recreate holidays spent when both parents were married or together. Move forward and incorporate things from the past while finding new things you and your child can call your own.
If you have questions about parenting time or child custody laws and guidelines, please contact myself, Arizona Family Law attorney Tim Durkin at 480-779-7972 for more information or to request a consult. JacksonWhite assists parents and families throughout Arizona including those in the East Valley – Gilbert, Mesa, Chandler, Queen Creek, Tempe and surrounding areas and in the West Valley – Glendale, Surprise, Peoria, Anthem, Sun City and surrounding areas.