Timing your family law matters: A calendar for co-parents
Co parenting can be difficult, even at the best of times! Prior to your custody arrangements being heard in court, you will have to co parent in the midst of your separation. There are many ways to ease the tension; including timing your family law matters. Read on for advice on co parenting before written agreements are solidified.
A lot of frustration in legal matters occurs because parents do not think ahead when making their arrangements for their children. For co-parents that have a rocky relationship, planning ahead is critical for peace of mind. The court process moves slowly on its own. There are periods of time necessary for providing notice to the other side, then there is time to wait for a court date itself in order to have your matter heard.
Most lawyer’s schedules are booked up months in advance and it takes time to prepare a court application and set a court date to have the matter heard. Be prepared and think ahead; start discussions early with your former spouse about how you would like to share holidays and special events with the children. If the discussions are unsuccessful, contact your lawyer as soon as possible.
You should allow yourself 3-6 months to settle the matter if it needs to proceed to court; this time estimate will be greater or lesser, depending on the state of your legal matters. This seems like a lot of time, however, there is no shame in having your agreement or order months in advance of your trip, holiday, or special event. It will save on the nail biting and extreme anxiety that last minute planning results in.
In August and September, it is time to start thinking about Christmas. Do you have plans yet for how that will look? Once most couples have been through the process once, they have a plan for how each Christmas will look every year thereafter. In January and February, it is time to start making plans for the summer holidays. These are likely to change every year and may depend on extended family or work schedules. Some couples are successful in negotiating the same schedule every summer in order to reduce friction and promote consistency for the children.
“Shared parenting = ALLIES. Not enemies.” unknown
In June, start thinking about Halloween. Halloween is one of those events which seems frivolous at first, but for parents of young children, its an important event and one that is often overlooked until the last minute when making plans. Thinking about Halloween in June may seem ridiculously early, however, it can allow for communication between counsel or other dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve the matter if necessary.
If Easter or Thanksgiving or any other holiday is important to your family, allow yourself 3 to 6 months to make arrangements with your co-parent and consult with your lawyer. The more important the event is to you and the more difficult your relationship with your co-parent is, the earlier you will want to bring the matter to the attention of your lawyer.
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