Making plans for summer is exciting for children and adults alike, but tricky child custody arrangements may complicate matters. The parenting schedules you and your co-parent keep during the school year will likely not work for the summer months, especially if both of you work. Custody during the summer should be rearranged according to both of your needs, and, more importantly, the needs of your children.
In order to make the custody arrangement transition into summertime, follow these helpful tips to avoid conflict and ensure you and your children to have a memorable summer, for all the right reasons.
1. Hold Off on Making Set Plans
While it may be difficult, try to refrain from booking your vacation or committing to plans until you’ve spoken to your co-parent. Not only might it conflict with their schedule, but it could also conflict with something your children wish to do that you aren’t yet aware of, like a friend’s birthday party. Also, by approaching the subject of summer custody arrangements without set, inflexible demands, this may make your co-parent more open to making plans agreeably.
You and your co-parent may be on good terms, but even in the best of circumstances it is always necessary to discuss any plans regarding your children with their other parent. Do not let your children get in the middle, always address their parent on your own, perhaps over coffee if you have a good relationship, or in writing via email if you do not. Discuss when you would like to have the children, when the other parent would like to have them, and consider what other summer activities your children want to participate in.
Also, consider where your children will be now that they are not in school. If both you and their other parent work, perhaps you can consider a day care or summer camp program that you both agree on. Summer custody arrangements can be dealt with more easily if the two of you can come to an agreement, and this will also put less stress on your children. However, if agreements become impossible it may be necessary to schedule a consultation with your attorney.
3. Consult Your Children
Do not forget that this is your children’s summer too. Plan for vacations you and your co-parent wish to take the children on, yes, but also consider their wishes. You are making plans that affect their lives, and should be sure the decisions you make will likewise benefit them. Also, remember your children are watching and learning from the way you handle disagreements and arrangements with their other parent, so be mindful and set a good example.
4. Make a Set Schedule
Once you have discussed plans for the summer with your children and co-parent, be sure to write everything down. There is always a chance there is some miscommunication or one parent will forget exact dates, so having everything written will help ensure that you are both running off of the same schedule. This will also help provide documented proof of the agreed terms of your children’s summer custody arrangement, should you need it later on.
Coming to a peaceful arrangement with your co-parent will make summer much more enjoyable, with less to worry about over scheduling conflicts or undefined child custody arrangements. Having it all planned out will take away the stress not only for you, but also for your children. Make it a priority now, before summer comes along, to discuss plans, vacations, and scheduling with your children and their other parent so that everyone can enjoy themselves this summer.