While some people have flexible parenting plans or have not yet been through the court process, it is important that certain things are clear when determining child custody issues in Arizona and other states. The holidays provide one example where parents may fight because both parties want to spend special occasions with their children. One may not have enough time to go through the court process if a holiday or big event is coming up, so here are a few tips for working out an arrangement.
Having a parenting plan signed and in writing is important, whether it has been filed with the court yet or not. A broad parenting plan could work as long as both parents are willing to adhere to it and communicate and compromise while deciding on the more flexible points. While discussing physical custody issues, it may be a good idea to decide as much as possible. Parents could start with specific occasions like holidays or summers but may wish to move on to discussing monthly or weekly schedules.
Both parents will likely want holidays and must attempt to act reasonably and come up with a solution that is mutually beneficial. Many people handle holidays by alternating years or splitting the time. Alternating means that one parent has Thanksgiving one year while the other has it the following year. Splitting time means that each parent receives some time with a child or children on designated days.
Unless there are mitigating factors, judges tend to let both parents share child custody and generally do not want to overly complicate matters. This means judges might have parents alternate years for holidays, but parents who can form arrangements together often have more freedom to negotiate and factor in the schedules of everyone involved. A lawyer can often help in negotiations for child custody and visitation arrangements.