With temperatures rising, one thing is for sure – summer is right around the corner! Knowing the final weeks of school will quickly come to an end, you may find yourself planning a family vacation or scheduling summer camps. If you are one of the many parents who share custody of your children, now is the perfect time to decide how you and your co-parent will share time with your children and divide responsibility for their care this summer. By taking time to consider the summer schedule, you can be sure to keep cool and enjoy this time with your kids.
If you do not have a parenting agreement or custody order in place already, this is a good opportunity to consider one. With the help of a family law attorney, you can create a plan that addresses many of the parenting issues you might face during the summer and year round.
Even if you have an agreement or custody order, with the upcoming change in your children’s day-to-day schedule, now may be the perfect time to review it to be sure you understand your rights and responsibilities. Or, if things have recently changed, it may be time to update it so that it makes better sense for your family.
Here are some common summer co-parenting issues that we often face:
- Vacations. Most parenting agreements provide each parent with time to vacation with the children during the summer months. Oftentimes, one parent is required to choose when he or she will vacation with the children by a certain date and notify the other parent to avoid planning conflicting trips. Take a look to see if you are required to take this, or other action, so you don’t miss out on the opportunity to spend those extra days making memories with your children.
- Activities. Will your children participate in summer camp? If so, who will schedule and who will pay? Your agreement or order may not speak directly to summer activities. Sometimes, the terms only directly address general extracurricular activities and, many times, parents will only have to split the cost of agreed upon extracurricular activities. Make sure you understand exactly how these activities will be handled. While you want to ensure your children enjoy their summer vacation, you also don’t want to overextend yourself only to find out the other parent is not responsible for the cost of space camp.
The lesson here? If you do not already have a parenting agreement or custody order, and are frustrated with the parenting schedule (or lack thereof), you may need one. If you do have one, make sure you understand it and, if its terms are no longer meeting the needs of your family, it’s likely time to revise it. The easiest way to ensure you beat the summer heat is to put a plan in place to resolve these common summer issues before they become problems that are too hot to handle!