As temperatures start to drop, it’s only a matter of time before that first big winter storm rolls through wiping out school for the day (or days).
Nothing is more glorious for a child than a snow day, but it can cause all kinds of confusion for divorced parents.
Generally, parenting plans don’t mention how to handle custody exchanges on snow days. So what do you do? Is the day treated like a holiday? Should the exchange take place as planned? And who should take the kids if you and your ex need to work?
Here are some tips for handling child custody exchanges on snow days.
Snow days are usually treated like normal days
Usually, divorced parents need to treat snow days just like any other day.
If the parenting plan requires you to drop the kids off at school and your ex to pick them up once school is dismissed, then the kids will stay with you during the day until the normal pick-up time.
Communicate about the weather and be flexible
Depending on how nasty the weather gets, it could be unsafe for everyone to be out on the roads. Monitor the situation closely and communicate frequently with your ex about how safe the driving conditions are.
If the roads are too bad, you or your ex might have to forfeit some parenting time. That’s not ideal, but you don’t want to take unnecessary risks. Keep the interests of your children in mind.
Don’t use weather as an excuse to extend custody time
When assessing the weather conditions, be honest. Don’t try using the snow and ice as an excuse to get more time with the kids, however tempting that might be.
It’s dishonest and you wouldn’t want your ex to do that to you. Lying almost always has a way of coming back to bite you.
Work out who will look after the kids ahead of time
Very few people have jobs that allow them to stay home just because the kids are out of school. So it’s likely that you and your ex will still need to go to work, and if your kids are too young to stay home alone someone else will have to watch after them.
Since snow days are typically an annual occurrence for most parts of the country, it’s a good idea to work this out ahead of time.
Coordinate with your ex and come up with a list of people who could potentially stay with the kids when school is unexpectedly cancelled. This might be a daycare provider or a relative or friend you both agree could take on the responsibility.
Above all else, you need to do your best to cooperate with your ex. Since snow days are unpredictable and rarely addressed in parenting plans, much flexibility is required.
Do your part and if your ex fails to do the same and it consistently leads to arguments, consider asking the court to clarify how such scenarios should be handled in the future.