VICKIE LYNN COCHRAN attorney at law
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Handling parenting time disputes at the holidays

With Halloween upon us, it is expected that children across the area will be canvassing neighborhoods in search of candy. It is the first of many fall and winter events that children (and parents) will look forward to. For those who are keeping count, Thanksgiving is just over three weeks away, and then the holiday season will begin in earnest.

For divorcing and separated parents, this could be a time of upheaval. It may be uncharted territory with both parents expecting to have the children (or at least be at their side) to experience these events. Of course, both parents can’t have exclusive parenting time at the same time, so decisions must be made regarding parenting time during the holidays.

For parents without a custody order or parenting time agreement, this could lead to some confusion and disappointment. With that said, we offer a few tips to help avoid issues on the holidays.

Know what your order allows -  Not only is this important in making sure when exchanges are supposed to occur, it should have provisions on what must be done to accommodate temporary changes (i.e. there must be an agreement in writing signed by both parties).

Plan ahead – Indeed, last minute changes are a reality given that emergencies occur. Absent that, it is helpful to plan events ahead of time so that everyone is on the same page.

Be flexible – In the same vein, parents should be amenable to slight changes (especially with exchanges) to accommodate unexpected delays.

Source:, The parenting agreement

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