Halloween is less than two weeks away. While children are utterly delighted by costumes and candy, October 31st can be the source of family law disputes revolving around child custody, parenting plans, holiday schedules and who will make decisions about bedtime (Halloween falls on a Tuesday this year), the amount of candy that can be consumed, costumes and more.
In many cases, divorced parents don't consider Halloween a holiday -- until the calendar rolls around to October. For those with young kids, especially, the event can suddenly grow in importance.
Some parents will include in their parenting plan a holiday schedule that allows their kids to spend alternating Halloweens with mom and dad. Others create arrangements in which the evening is divided into sections that enable both parents to have trick-or-treating time.
For them, it often makes sense to alternate neighborhoods and early-evening/later-evening segments.
Another potential source of Halloween-related friction: the costumes. Who buys them? Who keeps them? It often makes sense for divorced parents to divide the cost and allow the kids to keep the costumes where they like. In that way, children don't get caught in any territorial push-pull parental disputes.
Some experts say it's best not to ask your children with whom they would like to spend Halloween. There is no good reason to make them pick sides or parents. Assume that ideally they would like to spend the holiday with both parents and then make plans from that starting point.
Halloween doesn't have to be scary for children of divorce. With a bit of planning and cooperation, the kids can focus on costumes and candy rather than a parental spat.
A family law attorney experienced in crafting and negotiating parenting plans and other child custody arrangements can help you navigate one of the most emotionally challenging parts of divorce.