Modifying Your Visitation Schedule for the Holidays
Holiday schedules can become overwhelming. Here is what you need to know about modifying your visitation schedule for the holidays.
In New Mexico, when you have children and the parents are not married or living together, you need to have a parenting plan. This plan includes the visitation schedule, child support, and custody. These types of plans are needed for child custody cases and for finalizing a divorce in the state. The goal is always to ensure the parenting plan reflects what is best for the children.
However, many parenting plans do not account for what happens during the holidays, which means a lot of issues can come up this time of year. Because all families are different and celebrate different holidays and at different times, it can be difficult to come up with a working visitation schedule that makes everyone happy.
Does the Modification Need to Go Through the Court?
Most of the time, a holiday visitation schedule in New Mexico will not have to be modified through the courts. If this is just a temporary change, as is typical with holiday visitation, you won’t need to change the current agreement. However, both of the children’s parents need to agree and be on board with the change for this to work without court involvement
If you and the other parent have a good relationship when it comes to the children, temporary change can be easy. You don’t need to take the time or spend the money to have the shift in the visitation schedule done through the court. The parents would just make an arrangement with each other.
Whether the other parent will be agreeable will often depend on quite a few factors. Does one of the parents live out of state and would the change in the visitation schedule cause logistical problems? Would the parent who was supposed to have the child during the holidays need to change their plans extensively? Is one of the parents considered a danger to the child?
Most of the time, there won’t need to be a formal modification of the parental agreement and visiting schedule. However, for those parents who don’t feel comfortable having their children away for the holidays and who don’t want to agree to change their schedule just to placate the other parent, it might need to go through the court. In these cases, the parent who has the scheduled time with their children will typically be able to keep it.
If the change to the visitation schedule is going to be permanent and not just for the holiday season, you would then need to have the parenting plan modified through the court system.
Common Ways to Share Holiday Time
Most parents who want the best for their children will try to work with their ex to come up with a visitation schedule that works well for everyone. There are a few common ways that this can work and that you might want to talk with your ex about as the holidays are approaching.
One of the options is to assign holidays to each parent on even years and then swap the holidays on odd years. For example, one parent might get the child for Thanksgiving one year while the other parent gets Christmas. Next year, they would swap the holidays.
Another way to do it is to split the holiday. The children could spend part of the day with one parent, and then part of the day with the other. Alternatively, one parent would get Christmas Eve and the other would get Christmas day. The following year, you switch.
These are just some of the potential options that parents could use when they are trying to split the holiday schedule for their kids. Ultimately, the goal should be to make the children happy, so parents should strive to work together whenever possible.
Talk with an Attorney When in Doubt
If you aren’t sure whether you need a modification to your custody agreement, the best thing to do is to get in touch with an experienced family law attorney. They can let you know what needs to be done if anything. A knowledgeable family law attorney can help you better understand your rights as a co-parent.
New Mexico Legal Group can provide you with the help you need for your visitation schedule, along with any other custody issues or parenting plan questions and problems you might have. Get in touch with one of our highly skilled family law attorneys today to learn more.