For many divorced parents managing child custody and parenting time schedules, an unexpected snow day or school delay can disrupt the best laid plans. When winter weather interferes with a custody agreement, parents must act in good faith to always put first the best interests of their children.
Communicate Snow Day Expectations
When a winter storm seems imminent, the most proactive course of action is to communicate snow day expectations with the other parent and the child to avoid any conflicts. Parents should plan in advance whether a snow day will be treated like a normal school day should school be cancelled. Determine whether the parent who normally drops and picks up the child from school will keep the child during the school day. For parents of young children who cannot be alone at home, arranging for appropriate back up child care for snow days when a child cannot go to daycare or school can alleviate the stress when a weather emergency takes place.
In other cases, parents may have arranged for the appropriate childcare for a snow day, or transported their child to the other parent’s home the night before the predicted storm, but the forecasted snow does not materialize. Parents should determine in advance whether one parent must then transport the child back to the other parent’s house. While it is impossible to predict every weather-related scenario, having an open line communication between parents allows smoother transitions for the child.
Anticipate Changes in Child Custody Exchange
Many transportation issues can arise with winter weather. When it becomes hazardous to drive a child to or from school, the other parent’s house, or a planned activity, driving conditions may prevent one parent from returning a child to the other parent as required by the parenting agreement. The safety of the child should remain the top priority even if that means additional time spent with one parent over the other. Although weather should never be used as an excuse to lengthen a child’s stay with one parent, placing a child (or the other parent’s) safety at risk to complete a planned child custody exchange is never a good idea. Flexibility on the part of both parents is required during unexpected snow days or school delays.
Seek Court Intervention
When winter weather conditions result in a significant unbalance of parenting time, it may be necessary to modify existing custody arrangements. Child custody agreements can be legally modified to address an unfair division of parenting time resulting from unforeseen weather conditions. For example, if a child’s planned vacation with one parent must be cancelled or shortened due to the weather, that parent may petition for an adjustment of the custody agreement to make up for the lost time.
Changes to existing custody orders must follow specific legal guidelines. If divorced parents are unable to resolve an unexpected custody situation themselves, they may need the assistance of an experienced Philadelphia child custody lawyer who can seek judicial intervention on their behalf.
Philadelphia Child Custody Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Help Enforce Parenting Time Agreements
At Freedman & Lorry, P.C. our experienced Philadelphia child custody lawyers handle a wide range of family law matters including those relating to divorce, child custody and visitation, alimony, and child support. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Pinehurst, North Carolina to serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and North Carolina. To schedule a free initial consultation today with an experienced Philadelphia child custody lawyer today, call us at 888-999-1962 or submit an online inquiry form.