Sharing custody of a child is never an easy process, but it can be particularly challenging during the summer months when kids are out of school and you’re trying to plan vacations and outings. To navigate these complex waters, some parents plan ahead and outline specific rules in their parenting plan or custody arrangement, while others simply work through their schedules anew each year.
Whatever the case for your situation, it’s important to consider your options and think about the best possible method to make your family’s summer the care-free, fun time you and your kids deserve.
To make your child custody arrangement easier this summer, follow these tips:
1. Abide By Your Child Custody Agreement
Following your court-approved custody agreement is of the utmost importance. Before you make any changes for the summer, refer to this agreement and make sure you follow the plans outlined there, especially if the agreement specifically refers to summer plans. If you wish to modify your existing agreement, discuss this option with your attorney.
2. Make a Plan
Before summer arrives, set aside some time to meet up with your co-parent and establish a plan for the summer. Discuss upcoming vacation plans, daycare plans for your kids, summer sports and activities, and so on. Coordinate and trade-off to make things as fair and amicable as possible. Remember, you each need to give a little to make it work.
3. Keep Communication Open
Throughout the summer, try to communicate openly with your ex, and encourage them to do the same. If you need to change your plan at all, give your ex as much notification as possible and try to remedy the situation. Or, if you’re on vacation with your kids, send your ex updates so they can see what your kids are up to, and encourage your kids to give their other parent a call to check-in.
4. Consider Your Kids’ Wishes
Rather than just planning your summer vacation based on you and your ex, think about taking your children’s opinions under consideration. After all, it’s their summer too. Ask about their most-wanted activities, or let them make a few decisions for themselves. For example, would they prefer to go to swimming lessons or summer camp? Letting your children have some control over their summer can make the complexity of a shared custody arrangement a bit less scary.
5. Stick To the Plan
Unless circumstances beyond your control force you to alter your plans, try to stick to the agreed-upon summer arrangement as much as possible. Last-minute changes can be difficult to navigate, not to mention frustrating. Try to keep those spontaneous deviations to a minimum and stick to the summer plan you and your co-parent have already agreed to.
Not every co-parenting pair is able to create a summer custody plan without serious conflict. If you and your ex are unable to come up with a plan on your own, talk to your attorney about your options. You may be able to try mediation or other means to solve your problem with the help of a third-party.
Need help with a child custody plan this summer? Contact our attorney at Beatriz Zyne, P.A. for sound legal counsel.