Although summer often conjures up images of heat, barbecues, and the beach, for divorced or separated parents it can lead to scheduling headaches. With children on school holidays and potentially different plans for how each parent wants to spend their summer, co-parents can find it exceedingly difficult to come to an agreement. However, those who are able to communicate openly and work together in balancing individual needs with family commitments can have successful outcomes.
6 Tips for Summer Co-Parenting
Share Plans As Soon As Possible
Planning ahead for summer holidays can help separated couples avoid arguments and will provide the children with an opportunity to get the most out of their break. Many co-parents opt for an alternating year plan, giving each parent equal opportunities to make memories with their kids. This stipulation is often included in a previously agreed upon parenting plan, but can be easily modified with the help of a professional.
Even when shared celebrations such as birthdays, graduations, and family reunions, aren’t possible, having a discussion ahead of time can help to avoid disagreements. By planning in advance and being aware of one another's needs and wants, co-parents can ease extra tension and bring about good memories otherwise thought impossible.
Share Summer Plan Costs
When it comes to summer extracurricular activities, costs can add up quickly. It's essential that both parents work together to establish who is paying for what. Coming up with a mutual agreement on how much each parent will contribute will help ensure that everyone is supported and secure in their situation.
For example, if one parent had money budgeted for a child's summer vacation or camp, they could offer to pay what they had originally planned while the other parent could take care of the remaining costs. Ultimately, this type of co-pay agreement allows both parents to continue investing in the lives of their children.
Examples of possible summer activity costs to consider may include:
- Plane tickets
- Summer classes
- Road trips
Communicate With Your Children
Keeping in mind your child's needs is a priority when you are a co-parent. While there may be things that you would like to do during this vacation, remember to ask your children what they’re interested in trying. As they grow older, letting them have their say in the vacation-planning process is a great way to ensure that their excitement is piqued. By listening to what your child wants, you can help make this summer one they'll always remember fondly.
Review Your Custody Schedule
Whether you prefer to stick to the regular custody schedule or create one that works especially well in the summer months, it always pays off to go over it before summer begins. Keeping tabs on any changes due to summer camps, trips, and other activities is essential. It's also smart to plan ahead if there are any special circumstances such as extended holiday trips, so that both parents can be on the same page when it comes to the custody schedule. With some thought, flexibility, and pre-planning, co-parenting can be handled much more smoothly during these exciting months to create an environment where both parents and children can thrive.
Create Summer Routines
Summer break for children can be an enjoyable and freeing experience. However, too much freedom without structure can lead to confusion and disorientation. For co-parents, it is important to keep family routines consistent between both households. Establishing some rules and guidelines around activities can help create a sense of security while still allowing children to enjoy the benefits of taking a break from classes.
Consider the following rules to keep consistent with your ex-partner:
- Bedtime/wakeup time
- Mealtimes/eating habits
Consult With Your Attorney
When it comes to summer plans with your child, discussing options with an experienced attorney may be necessary. At Conner & Roberts, PLLC, we understand how vital it is for children and their parents to spend time together and we’re here to help you ensure that all of your planned activities appropriately adhere to the granted custody agreement.
Our team of legal professionals focus on such sensitive matters within co-parenting and can help you come to a suitable outcome. Consulting us about decisions related to guardianship or custody enables us to draw attention to potential problems that might arise, so you can take precautionary measures and make sure everyone’s interests are appropriately prioritized.
Call us today at (423) 299-4489 or schedule a consultation with us online.