The Importance of the “Holiday Schedule”

With fall right around the corner, it is only a matter of time before the holidays arrive. Although this can be an exciting and joyful time for many, it can also be extremely stressful for both divorced and non-divorced families alike. It is undisputable that the stress of deciding who to spend the holidays with can make even the happiest of families disagree. Such disagreements are even more likely to fall upon those families who are divorced with minor children. Trying to decide who gets the kids Christmas day or who gets to take them trick-or-treating for Halloween can be more complicated that one imagines. For that reason, here at Mello & Pickering, LLP, we always advise our clients to do their best to come up not only with a regular timeshare schedule, but what is known as the “holiday schedule”. The holiday schedule itself details how the parents will split the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, 4th of July, Easter, Halloween, Labor Day, etc.) as well as the children’s school breaks. It essentially complements the regular timeshare schedule so as to ensure that no amount of time is unaccounted for in the children’s lives.

It is not uncommon for a couple going through divorce, or unmarried parents dealing with custody and visitation issues, to go into things thinking that they can navigate all 18 years of the child’s life without court orders. However, even the best of intentions can cause the greatest of problems. Sometimes, parents try to take the approach of “figuring it out” as they go due to a desire to avoid incurring costly legal fees they associate with working out a binding custody and visitation agreement. However, going through the court does not always mean draining one’s accounts. Parties who find themselves in need of legal assistance but have concerns regarding money have more than one option: one option is retaining the services of an attorney on a consulting basis. This allows the client to meet with an attorney and obtain invaluable legal advice without paying the higher fees associated with retaining an attorney to fully represent the party. However, it is important to note that consulting means that for all purposes the party remains self-represented. Another option is attending Mediation. When parties go to Family Court Services and attend Mediation, the appointed mediator will meet with the parents and try to help the parties come to an agreement after listening to their respective positions. Finally, even for those parties who do choose to retain an attorney to represent them, such does not require spending an exorbitant amount of money. At our firm, we pride ourselves on assisting our clients by providing excellent work product in the most efficient manner. We believe in helping our clients settle where possible, without resulting automatically to litigation.

Just as no family is the same, neither is any case. The attorneys at Mello & Pickering, LLP will listen to the facts of your case and can help you come up with the best possible strategy to ensure your children are safe and happy. With 40 years of combined experience in family law, we can assist you in making sure your holiday season goes smoothly.

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