Navigating The Holidays In The COVID-19 Pandemic As A Blended Family
The holidays are quickly approaching. Experts indicate the supply chain is severely limited this year, and now is the time to check off your gift list for friends and family. But what about the COVID-19 pandemic? Is it safe to travel out of state to visit loved ones this year, now that children and adults are eligible for vaccinations? What about divorced parents? What if one parent is not comfortable with their child being around extended family, but it is the other parent’s turn to host Thanksgiving? If you are concerned about potential conflict with a co-parent regarding the holidays, you may benefit from a consultation with our Tampa family law attorneys at Bubley & Bubley, P.A.
Family Courts Process for Reviewing MSA’s and Parenting Plans
Schools are open in person, but masks and vaccinations are not compulsory for students in Florida. In Hillsborough County, community transmission of the virus is substantial, although vaccines are available for everyone ages 12 and up. The FDA is also expected to grant emergency approval for vaccination distribution to children 5-11 very soon, possibly before Christmas. Until then, many parents and blended families have reservations about out-of-state travel with extended family.
Generally speaking, divorced parents with children determine holiday and vacation custody before a divorce is ever finalized. Usually this guidance is found in a parenting plan or parenting agreement signed by both parties. Unfortunately, the past year and a half has been anything but ordinary, and co-parents have had to be flexible and accommodating to each other for their children. If it is your turn to host the holidays and your children are supposed to be present, but your co-parent refuses to release them to you, you do have options.
Discussing Holiday Custody Arrangements
The first step is having a candid conversation with your co-parent. Determine if a compromise can be reached without drama. What does your parenting plan say about holiday custody? Some parents alternate custody every other year. Others split a holiday in half, with mom sharing custody in the morning and dad picking up the kids in the evening. If both parents cannot reach an agreement about holidays and vacation custody, and no provisions were explicitly written in the marital settlement agreement, they can request an emergency hearing with a family court judge. There is no guarantee this request would be granted, although it is possible. The judge would make an impartial decision based on the best interest of the child. He or she would also encourage both parents to work out a schedule in writing for future holidays.
Call Tampa Child Custody Lawyers at Bubley & Bubley
This year many families are getting together for the holidays for the first time in two years. Children might be looking forward to seeing cousins and grandparents. Co-parents should do their best to collaborate and find a solution that fits everyone’s schedule, while also adhering to safety protocols and considering the health of all guests. If you and your co-parent have reached a stalemate about holiday custody in Tampa, contact our attorneys at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. We have experience in family law disputes including holiday custody and serve clients throughout the Tampa Bay area. Call today to schedule a consultation.