If you’re a parent of a young child, Halloween can be one of the most stressful holidays of the year. Rushing home just in time to take the little ones trick-or-treating is a Pittsburgh pastime. But if you share custody of your child with the other parent, trick-or-treating can be tricky (pun intended). Since Halloween falls on a different day each year, for many parents with Custody Orders don’t include Halloween as a holiday the result is often unpredictable because custody will be exercised by whomever would exercise custody on that day under the normal schedule. In addition, since Halloween often falls on a weekday when school is in session, custody time is often limited by children’s’ school schedules and neighborhood’s defined trick-or-treating times. In order to avoid chaos, parents should insist on including provisions for the Halloween holiday or, at the very least, agree to a plan with the other parent well in advance.
Things to consider when negotiating a Halloween holiday schedule might include an altered pick-up/drop-off schedule or location to accommodate neighborhood trick-or-treating schedules. As with anything in a Custody Order, the more detailed the plan is the less likely there will be friction between parents at trick-or-treat time. For many parents, a plan which alternates who exercises custody on Halloween each year seems to be the best way to handle it. Since many Pittsburgh neighborhood’s scheduled trick-or-treating window is only two-hours long, a plan that attempts to have both parents exercise trick-or-treat time is really only feasible if parents are willing to trick-or-treat together. If this simply isn’t an option for your family, it’s important to communicate in advance to ensure that all the details are hammered out well in advance of Halloween.
The parents (and children) who tend to cope best with life after divorce are those that pay close attention to detail from the beginning. A detailed shared custody arrangement, memorialized in an Order of Court, is an important roadmap for everyday life after divorce. Our attorneys always remind parents that schedules that are agreed upon by both parties are often what’s best for the family. We urge our clients to keep in mind that the judges don’t know their family like they do, so sometimes it makes the most sense to negotiate a schedule with your spouse and utilize your PA Child Custody lawyer to memorialize the details in a Consent Order of Court for custody.