son and mother during holidays

Modifying a Parenting Plan for the Holidays

Whether you are new to the idea of modifying your parenting plan or recently adjusted it a few years ago, it is a common occurrence. This is especially true around the holidays if you want to enforce or modify your custody and timesharing agreement to spend more quality time with your child or take a holiday vacation with them. Today, we discuss the steps you can take to modify a parenting plan for the upcoming holidays.

Steps to Take to Modify Your Parenting Plan

Express the Reason for the Modification Request with Your Co-Parent

In most cases, it is beneficial to the entire family to communicate openly with your co-parent about your holiday plans – especially if you are requesting additional time with your child. If you can come to a resolution together as co-parents, this will save you the cost and time associated with going to court. Doing so also helps you flex the muscles you need to co-parent effectively for the future.

It is important to note that it is best to file a motion for a modification for a parenting plan to enforce this change in court. Without doing this step, you might have to face future issues down the line, including a potential custody dispute.

File a Motion to Modify Your Parenting Plan

You always have the option to file a motion to modify a parenting plan and timesharing agreement. This option may be for you if a material change in circumstances has occurred since the original parenting plan was entered or the plan just does not suit your family’s needs anymore. Additional reasons for modifying a parenting plan include but are not limited to the following:

  • Remarriage
  • Relocation
  • Negative effects on the development of the child
  • Maturation of the child that requires a more appropriate plan
  • Unfit parenting status
  • Change of schools
  • Current public health situation

As COVID-19 will most likely impact everyone’s holiday schedule this year, you might want to modify your current parenting plan to disallow your child from traveling out of state for health and safety reasons.

Keep in mind that New York courts use the best interests of the child standard when making custody determinations. It is best to contact an experienced attorney to understand your rights as a parent and what the best approach is for you if you decide to request a modification to your current parenting plan.

Be Proactive

Even if you already have a custody agreement in place, it would be smart to plan for the upcoming holiday season well in advance. For example, you may need to check your holiday plan to see if out of state travel is allowed. If not, you will need your co-parent’s permission before traveling. If you must modify your parenting plan to accommodate your holiday plans, it is best to provide your co-parent with an itinerary and details regarding your plans and accommodations. It may be helpful to send your co-parent pictures and updates via text throughout the day. While this is not necessary, it would be appreciated and hopefully reciprocated.

What to Do if My Co-Parent Violates Our Parenting Plan?

It is understandable why child custody issues can quickly get heated over the holidays. Your co-parent may try to modify your parenting plan without your permission or try to get away with stretching timesharing time to spend more time with your child. These violations are considered serious under New York law, especially considering how vigilant family court judges are during the holidays.

The consequences for violating a parenting plan may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Loss of time-sharing
  • Contempt
  • Custodial of interference
  • Court-ordered supervised visitation

If you are concerned about your co-parent violating your parenting plan, contact an experienced attorney immediately to set you up for a possible enforcement or modification battle. If a motion to enforce a parenting plan is intentionally ignored by your co-parent, he/she could be found in contempt of court and may face fines and even jail time.

To learn more about our family law services, contact us online or call our office via (631) 237-9525.