Bullet Proofing Your Holiday Time: Send Notice in Writing NOW
Many divorced or single parents have issues with parent-time, not because they can’t use a calendar or make a plan, but because they are dealing with an ex who is unreasonable and who doesn’t want to make things work.
There really isn’t a completely fool-proof way to secure your parent time; however, there are things you can (and must) do that will make your ex think twice before infringing on your parent time.
We’ve all heard the hackneyed saying, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” but in this case, the advice is sound. Make sure you give the other parent written notice of:
1) What your specific upcoming holiday parent-time is (Halloween, Thanksgiving, first or second half of Christmas vacation, child’s birthday, etc.);
2) What pages and paragraphs part of your decree/court order award you the parent-time;
3) The precise date and time when you will start your holiday parenting time and the precise date and time when it will end; and
4) The address of the place where you propose to pick up the children or meet your ex to exchange the children, if the place is not already specified in your decree/court order.
Make sure you send your notice in the following forms:
1) Certified mail (if you know your ex’s mailing address). Keep a copy of the letter for your records, and hang on to that certified mail delivery certificate, even if it comes back blank because your ex refused to sign it—this is evidence of your ex’s bad faith;
2) E-mail (if your ex has an e-mail address) and request a read receipt. Even if your ex won’t acknowledge receipt, you still want to request the read receipt;
3) Text message (if you know your ex’s cell phone number); and
4) If you and your ex keep a shared calendar for the purposes of giving notice of and monitoring the children’s activities and parent-time, make sure your holiday parent-time is entered in the calendar; and
5) If your ex has a lawyer, make sure notice is given to your ex’s lawyer (an e-mail requesting a read receipt is sufficient)
If you fail to give written notice—and plenty of it—of your holiday parent-time schedule, you will not have any proof that you gave notice to the other parent. Without proof you make it easy for your ex to interfere with and/or deny you your parenting time.
On the other hand, when you give plenty of clear written notice of your holiday parent-time schedule, you not only have proof, but you make it clear to your ex that you intend to preserve and protect your parent-time and that you stand ready to enforce it in court if it comes to that.
By giving notice now, you can address with your ex any potential scheduling conflicts before it’s too late to do anything about them. We’ll discuss what you can do about an ex who ignores your parent-time notices in the next blog posting.