Special occasions, holidays can be sore subjects when a child’s parents are split.
It’s hard not to have Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, religious holiday, and birthday with your child. But Mother’s Day can be an especially painful day for a mother to be separated from her children—and all too often, in a world where “every other weekend” is a frequent parenting time arrangement, that “every other weekend” seems to fall on Mother’s Day.
It often seems to us in our family law practice that Mother’s Day is particularly likely to become an emotional sore point when there are custody and parenting time problems. Fathers, understandably, don’t want to give up time with their children and mother’s find it particularly painful to not see their children on the very day that honors motherhood.
Is there a way for a mother to spend Mother’s Day with her children, even if it would fall on the other parent’s parenting time? Happily, this can be arranged!
While not used in all cases (particularly if the parties can agree on another schedule that works better for them), the New Jersey Court Holiday Schedule allows for a mother to spend at least the majority of Mother’s Day with her children even if Mother’s Day falls on what is normally the father’s parenting time. Because of this (and because it simply makes good sense) New Jersey Courts are inclined to allow for the mother to spend Mother’s Day with her children even if the parties don’t otherwise follow the Court Holiday Schedule.
It’s important to note that there are situations where the mother having parenting time on Mother’s Day is simply not going to work. Great distance makes varying from the normal parenting time plan to account for an isolated special day much harder. In such cases, it is often better to ask for an extended telephone call or video chat between mother and child to take place on Mother’s Day instead.
Keep in mind that it’s generally fair for the father (or other co-parent) to ask for a make-up day if they are giving up a day or weekend with their kids so that the children can spend Mother’s Day with their mother. It often works to vary the parenting time schedule a little bit so that Mother’s Day is always with the mother and Father’s Day is always with the father—a fair trade-off.
If Mother’s Day—or other special family occasions—have become a battle-ground with your co-parent give us call at 856-227-7888. First consultations are free to discuss your legal options.