If you share custody with your children, summer break can be a headache. Keep reading for tips for co-parents during the summer season.
It’s important to understand that your custody arrangement may not necessarily be conducive to some of the tips in this guide. All families are different, and the circumstances surrounding child custody may make summer plans even more complicated.
If you are struggling with your situation and need help figuring out how to handle custody, contact Smith Law Offices, LLC. Our attorneys can help you navigate the complexities of your custody arrangement so you and your family can have peace of mind.
Keep reading for our guide to custody and summer vacation!
Tip #1: Create a Plan
If you don’t already have a co-parenting plan for the summer or you do and would like to make changes, its important to do so before summer break. Co-parents with a flexible custody arrangement should still work on a plan so that any variables can be addressed before they happen. For example, going out of state on vacation could be complicated without boundaries and mutual understanding. The most important thing is your child’s safety and creating a plan can protect them.
Additionally, if you need to modify your child custody arrangement or the official parenting plan, put those changes in writing ahead of time and make sure that both parents sign it. This helps to prevent misunderstandings in the future.
Tip #2: Don’t Wait to Share Vacation Plans
In tandem with tip #1, this tip involves planning ahead. Waiting until the last minute to tell your co-parent that you are taking the kids on a cruise or out of state could case significant trust and logistical problems. Not only could failure to communicate cause tension but it may prompt more restrictions on your current custody arrangement.
Plus, out of respect for the child’s other parent, you should be as transparent with them as possible. Many parents’ alternate years to take children on vacation which helps to create a schedule for the child and eliminate argument or competing g requests.
Tip #3: Children Should Be a Part of the Conversation
Children can have more security in a structured environment. Making plans and having traditions can fulfill the need for structure but getting your child’s input on summer plans can help them get excited about them and have the chance to be the kids they are.
Including your children in conversations about vacation and trips over the summer keeps the kids engaged and can add some perspective for you and your co-parent. Your children may not want to go on an exotic vacation. Instead, they may want to stay home and go to a camp or participate in local activities. This could save money and alleviate the burden of one parent having to explain that their child doesn’t want to go on a fancy vacation.
By including the children when planning summer vacations, you can give them a voice and create memories that are happy for them and for you.
Tip #4: Be Patient
For new co-parents, it can be nerve racking to let your children spend time with your ex on vacation. They may go out of town or even out of the country and not going with them can be frustrating. If this is new to you, its important to be patient.
As stressed as you are about it, your ex probably feels the same way when roles are reversed. The best thing you can do is discuss plans ahead of time and communicate regularly. By keeping the doors of communication open, you can ask questions and check in on your kids to get peace of mind.
Tip #5: Don’t Compete
For some ex’s competition may be the name of the game. You may feel the need to one-up each other with vacation plans so you can have the best memories with your child over your ex-spouse. Competition doesn’t help anyone and dragging the children into it can foster resentment and accomplishes nothing in the end.
Co parenting is hard work, and if you plan fun summer vacations that the children want to participate in then you can do things they actually want to do. Your child’s happiness is more important than the trip to another country or to a theme park. Most children just want time with their parents and that should be your top priority.
As mentioned previously, every family is different and so is their custody arrangement. Summer is a time to relax and have fun but refusing to communicate and competing with your ex could ruin the fun. It’s more important to make plans and communicate with each other and your children so all of you can have peace of mind.