Happy Halloween! When developing a parenting plan during the divorce mediation process, we talk to our clients about holidays and how the family is going to celebrate them going forward. There is a tendency during our mediation sessions to focus on the “big ones” like Thanksgiving or Christmas, Easter or Passover. When devising a schedule for these important days, we work hard in divorce mediation to develop plans that are fair to both parents and take important family traditions into account. As part of this discussion, we also talk about Halloween. Since Halloween is a smaller, sillier holiday, we often have to remind clients that they should create a Halloween plan too.
Generally, at Westfield Mediation, LLC we include a provision in the parenting plan for celebrating Halloween that says that both parents can see the kids in their costumes and participate in any school-sponsored activities like classroom parties or Halloween parades. We also talk about trick-or-treating – is it going to be near one parent’s home or the other? Are the kids going to go to alternate neighborhoods in alternate years? Are the parents both going to accompany the kids? If there are multiple children, are the parents going to each have separate roles shepherding the different kids around?
We try to make a plan that is both comprehensive and flexible, knowing that kids’ interests and needs change as they grow. Of course, the parents can deviate from this plan down the road. The goal in mediation is to provide clients with a place to turn for resolution if a dispute arises and they can’t agree on how to proceed.
Regardless of the plan the parents ultimately include in their divorce agreement, the main point stays the same. For many families, Halloween is a fun celebration that the children look forward to all year. It is important to have a post-divorce plan in place that allows everyone – parents and kids – to enjoy the day.