Summertime is out-of-school time for children, which means vacations, swimming at the pool, and eating ice cream. Summer break is fun. However, for children of separated or divorced parents, summer break can be stressful because of child custody arrangements.
For parents who share joint physical custody, or one parent has sole physical custody while the other has visitation rights, planning a summer visitation schedule can be complicated. If the parents are not on the best of terms, it can be difficult for them to agree on summer custody.
Not Prioritizing Your Child
Summer is often a time for special vacations, trips, family visits, or summer camp, but these are rarely perfectly timed to meet the conditions of your child custody agreement. Maybe your ex wants to take your child on a trip or take them to participate in an event, but it conflicts with when you’re supposed to spend time with them. Then you deny the request. This will just upset your child.
Instead, use your child's happiness as motivation to find an agreement that works. This could even be an opportunity to compromise. For example, your ex takes them to the event but brings them home after. This way your child still gets to have fun. Being flexible with time can be a great solution. In return, your ex might be more willing to be flexible if you are ever in a situation and need to change the schedule.
Also, it’s important to note that if your child is traveling out of state or to another country, make sure you've completed a travel consent form beforehand. Even if you think it won't be an issue, miscommunications about travel can seriously escalate-- and travel can even be considered "parental kidnapping." Make sure everyone is on the same page, literally: get it in writing!
Conflict Over Summer Expenses
Summer is a time for fun, and fun can cost money above and beyond the child support arrangements you have in place now. The best solution is planning ahead, so you know what to expect and can negotiate with your co-parent for a fair deal. Budgeting for the summer makes financial sense and takes a lot of stress out of the process. A skilled child custody lawyer can help you interpret your child support agreement in addition to your custody arrangement.
Look at the Big Picture and Remember, You're Not in This Alone
Keeping the big picture in mind can go a long way. This means thinking about how your child’s happiness can be affected when you fight with their other parent. Even if you're no longer together, you and your co-parent should want what's ultimately best for your child. However, it won't happen without communication, compromise, and creativity.
The best way to avoid summer custody complications is to create a visitation and custody schedule for your custody arrangement. Doing this will allow you and your ex to know precisely when you will get to see your child.
Bush & Taylor, P.C. can help you work out all the details of your child custody arrangement. With over 30 years of combined experience, we know how to handle parenting disagreements with care and professionalism. We're ready and waiting to listen to your concerns as your powerful ally.
Call us today at (757) 926-0078 if you have any questions about child custody.