Summertime is all about fun in the sun, but if you have child custody arrangements to consider, it's best you sort those out prior to vacation time. While you and your co-parent may have your custody arrangement nailed down while your kids are in school, summer vacation can throw all of your plans off-kilter. With summer just around the corner, consider these key issues with child custody in the summer to prepare yourself and your family for new arrangements.
For some, summer vacation begins when the season changes, but for parents and children, it begins when school is out. When your children are out of school, consider who will be taking care of them if you and their other parent both work. Consider summer camps, local daycare or summer programs offered through their school.
Also, make sure you inform your children's other parent of any foreseeable plans or issues as soon as you can. Providing notification in a timely manner isn't only considerate, it can make things easier on your children and improve the communication between you and your co-parent. Planning out the details and deciding on a schedule before summer can make vacation plans easier and more enjoyable for each of you, and can even save you the trouble of an unnecessary a court date.
Regardless of the custody arrangement you have, navigating vacation time with your children can be tricky. Your ex may have full custody and wish to take the children away for an extended period of time, where you would not be able to visit. Or, perhaps you have shared custody and you wish to take a vacation with your children on a week their other parent typically would have them. No matter your situation, the best way to handle vacations and time management is to discuss them with your co-parent.
If you are on good terms, try to meet up with your co-parent to discuss your vacation schedules so that the two of you can come to an agreement. When discussing this schedule, be mindful of your children's plans or any activities they will want to attend, like sports games and practices, birthday parties, etc..
Time Without the Children
Be aware of any time you plan to be away without the children, and be sure their other parent is able to care for them during that time. For example, if you will be out of town for a wedding your children cannot attend, be sure your co-parent is free and able to have them that weekend.
Be especially mindful your vacation falls on time normally scheduled for the children to be with you. Always check your co-parent before you make definite plans and ensure your children will be safely taken care of.
Keep in mind, noncustodial parents will likely still need to pay child support even if they have the children for an extended period of time. Unless otherwise discussed, in writing, with the courts or your co-parent, expect to pay child support even when you have the children with you.
While these tips can help you better prepare for changing child custody arrangements in the summertime, some situations are too complex, and some relationships too volatile, for these arrangements to be made alone. If you and your children's parent are unable to reach an agreement or cannot discuss plans civilly, you may consider hiring a mediator for help.
You can hire a mediator, or you and your co-parent may involve your child custody lawyers to represent each of your interests in a civil, organized manner. For difficult, strained relationships, this could make rehashing custody issues simpler and less stressful.