Tips on Time Sharing & Holidays
In Florida, since 2008 during a divorce or when unmarried parents petition the courts to determine parental responsibility and court orders, child custody is a concept that has been abolished. Joint or sole custody has been replaced by majority time sharing and equal time sharing. Florida courts require that parents fill out parenting plans, which makes clear a plan and calendars for how time will be shared between fathers and mothers. Children who share time with both parents will likely alternate holidays on an even-odd year calendar, meaning one year one parent will have Christmas and one will have Thanksgiving and the following year they will alternate holidays. Parents can also agree to any type of parenting plan and holiday schedule based on their needs and the needs of the children.
Holidays and Parenting Plans
Holidays can be an extremely emotional time for both parents and children of divorced or unmarried parents who are time sharing, especially if there is a great deal of conflict. Many parents are capable of putting their differences aside to ensure that their children are comfortable and can enjoy this time with both parents, unfortunately this is rare. If you are unable to come together for the children, or if logistics just don’t support doing celebrating together, you can still make holiday time sharing a relaxed and positive experience for the children by limiting conflicts and encouraging the children to enjoy their holidays.
Reducing Conflict During the Holidays
There are many ways that you can avoid conflict during the holiday timesharing and help your children adjust. Remember, with a little encouragement, and if children feel that you are at ease when they leave to spend holiday time with Mom or Dad, they too generally feel more at ease. If you know you have high conflict with then you can prepare and make choices ahead of time that will help to avoid stress. Limiting contact with the other parent and keeping it about the children is advised.
Remember, especially small children are still continuing to bond with both mom and dad. Doing anything to hinder that bond can have long term consequences. A few simple choices can make a big difference in your stress level, and most importantly their stress level.
- Communicate via email to arrange pick up times and places or to resolve conflicts
- Don’t engage in any conversations that may escalate emotions or conflict
- Encourage the children to enjoy their time with Mom or Dad
- Do not entertain refusing time sharing during the holidays because of your emotions
Modifications of Time Sharing Pasco County
If you have real concerns about your current time sharing schedule or if there are real concerns about the welfare of your children since the final agreement on time sharing, follow the current court order and hire a family law attorney to petition the Pasco County, Florida Courts for modification of time sharing or other relief or assistance. Remember, there must be a substantial change of circumstances but a skilled Pasco County Florida child custody lawyer can advise you based on your unique circumstances.
Note: Several Florida courts have found that equal time-sharing does promote the parent-child relationship. However, there should not be a presumption in favor of equal time-sharing arrangements. Rather, the court can consider the benefit of an equal time-sharing arrangement if it is in the child’s best interests to do so.
If you need assistance, contact Wendy Doyle, family law attorney in Pasco County for a free initial consultation at (727) 824-5727.