Halloween/Trick-or-Treating Custody Agreements
Halloween is a time of joy for children. When co-parenting, both parents usually want to be included in the festivities. Unlike Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other major holidays, Halloween may be left out of the parenting plan. Advance planning can make it possible for everyone to enjoy Halloween and trick-or-treating.
How is Halloween Different from Other Holidays?
When it comes to co-parenting, Halloween is different from other holidays for more than one reason. As mentioned, the holiday is often left out of parenting plans, so it is up to the parents to work it out between them on a yearly basis. Halloween happens on one night and is generally celebrated with others in the community with child-focused traditions such as trick-or-treating. This makes it more difficult to divide up the holiday, as when one parent has the child on Christmas Eve and the other on Christmas Day.
Can Halloween Custody Decisions Be Negotiated into the Terms of a Divorce?
Holiday schedules are a standard part of parenting agreement. Although Halloween is often excluded, custody decisions for this holiday can be negotiated into divorce terms. Co-parents have options on how to divide and share time with the child, for example:
- Alternate years: One parent can have the child for Halloween on even years, while the other parent has the child on odd years.
- Assign fixed holidays for each parent: One parent may be more enthusiastic about Halloween, while the other gets more excited about Christmas. Each parent can spend the holiday he or she feels is more important with the child every year.
- Split the day: Although it may be more difficult for parents to split time with the child on Halloween than on other holidays, it may work out in some situations. For example, one parent may attend a Halloween event at the child’s school, while the other parent has the child at night for trick-or-treating or other festivities.
What If You Don’t Have Specific Agreements About Halloween in Your Filing?
If no custody agreement concerning Halloween is included in the terms of your divorce or parenting plan, it is a perfectly acceptable solution to work it out with the other parent on a yearly basis. The key, as always, is to put your child first. He or she may be excited about spending time with friends or dressing up and trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. In making decisions about how to share custody for this holiday, both parents should consider first what will bring the most joy to the child.
If the child is with one parent for Halloween, there are ways to help keep the other parent from feeling left out, for example:
- Send pictures of the child dressed up in a costume or trick-or-treating to the other parent.
- Make the other parent responsible for the child’s Halloween costume, so he or she can be included in the fun.
- Spend Halloween together. If co-parents can get along, they can both enjoy celebrating the holiday with the child.
Above all, it is important to communicate effectively. Be honest but flexible when making agreements for sharing holidays with your child’s other parent.
When Do You Need a Lawyer?
If you are going through divorce or a child custody dispute, you need legal representation. Our San Diego family law attorneys at Mattis Law, A.P.C. can help you negotiate a parenting plan, including holiday custody agreements, which will work for both you and your child. We are experienced lawyers who focus our practice exclusively on divorce and family law matters. Contact us at (858) 328-4400 for a dedicated legal advocate to help protect your future and your children’s.