You want your kids to have great summer memories. Those memories shouldn’t be tainted by instability or bickering because their parents can’t agree on who is taking them where and which parent pays what. When both parents are committed to doing what is best for the children, usually this can be avoided. But sometimes you each have different ideas about what’s best, or you have your own scheduling conflicts. We can help you create a summer custody plan that works.
Summer Fun (and Sometimes Frustration)
Scenario 1: The kids are off from school but both you and your ex work full time. Where will the kids go? Daycare? Camp? Grandma’s? Who will drop off and pick up? Who will pay and how much?
Scenario 2: Your teenager gets a summer job with hours that vary wildly. Logistics are again an issue, and maybe the job interferes with your custody schedule. Who has to change – the job or the custody plans?
Scenario 3: Your vacation plans interfere with your ex’s scheduled weekend custody, or vice versa. Or your ex wants to take them out of the country and you don’t want that. Who needs to accommodate whom?
There are many other possible conflicts that could occur over summer break, and there are many factors that must be considered when creating a thorough and effective summer custody plan.
Here are our best tips for having productive and peaceful conversations about summer plans for your children:
- Make the commitment to do what is in the best interest of your children.
- Schedule a time for you and your spouse to talk. Do not just send them a proposal or a list of steps you are going to take. Start with the intention of having a conversation.
- It is best to do this without the kids present to avoid the children having a say in the plans. While it is important to review the schedule with the kids, they do not need to be part of the planning process (and possible negotiations).
- Be reasonable. Help with documentation when your ex-spouse needs a signature. Let your spouse take the kids to his family reunion even if it is on your scheduled time. We do not recommend bending until you break but fairness and civility is always the best approach.
How We Can Help
If you’re still going through your divorce and haven’t settled your divorce agreement, now is the time to add a well-thought-out summer custody arrangement.
If, however, your divorce decree is final, you must abide by the decree or get a modification from the court. You and your ex may be able to make changes between the two of you, without the help of a lawyer or the court, but such agreements are not binding. Your spouse could decide not to abide by your new agreement after a while, and you could not legally insist that he or she do so.
The benefit of talking to a family law attorney is that we may be able to bring to your attention possible issues or complications you didn’t consider so that you and your co-parent can create a truly effective summer arrangement that you can both agree on and abide by.
Most importantly, it will be an agreement that will give your children the happy summer memories they deserve. Give us a call if you would like help making that a reality for your kids.