The holiday season is approaching. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Day are traditionally spent with family. For families separated by divorce, the holidays can often be a difficult time. It can be especially difficult when the terms of the custody agreement are unclear about how the children will spend the holidays.
WomansDivorce advises that most states have its own recommended holiday visitation schedule, many of which rotate the major holidays- such as Christmas- every other year.
When a holiday visitation plan is absent from the custody agreement, parents may need to work out an agreement with each other, with the help of an attorney, through mediation or in court with a judge suggests Post Mercury.
The process of modifying a custody order, as with all post-divorce modifications, can vary from state to state. For example, Pennsylvania requires that the parent who wishes to amend the order file a petition requesting the modification. In most cases, the next step is a conciliation conference in which both ex-spouses and their respective attorneys discuss the agreement. If a compromise is not reached, another conference or a hearing with a judge may be scheduled, according to Philadelphia’s Petrelli Law. New Jersey uses a similar process, but Pennsylvania parents filing a modification order are also required to attend a court approved parenting program.
According to PA Law Blogs, it is not unusual that parents seek to modify custody orders during the holidays and some firms experience a spike in inquiries regarding post-divorce modifications during this time of the year.
Although some parents may reach a consensus on a holiday visitation schedule without a formal court order, Petrelli Law urges parents to petition a modification order any time parents change the visitation schedule to prevent the other parent from changing their mind and to ensure the agreement is enforced.
If you are considering post-divorce modifications, contact a family law attorney to discuss your legal rights.