Creating a parenting plan that works for you, your ex, and your children can be extremely difficult, especially during the summer months. Most kids are out of school for 2-3 months over summer break, which leaves parents with a few additional options and challenges when it comes to custody. Whether you share custody with your co-parent or if one of you has visitation rights, creating a plan over summer can be difficult. Whether the two of you get along well or can’t stand to be in the same room together, there will be many ways in which the two of you may wish to handle your summer plans with your child differently.
In order to make the most of your summer this year, consider what you can do to create a workable parenting plan.
1. Communicate with Your Co-Parent
Opening the lines of communication with your ex is certainly easier said than done, but it can be extremely beneficial for several reasons. When the two of you are able to communicate, it makes it much easier to make plans for your kids, discuss their wellbeing, and plan for how you’d like to handle discipline, childcare, healthcare, and other key aspects of their lives. As for summer plans, communicating opening can make communicating about summer plans, pick-ups and drop-offs significantly easier.
If the two of you are extremely contentious, you might try to improve your communication skills via email or text messaging so as to minimize the potential for all-out fights and arguments. Remember, you both want what is best for your kids, so try to keep that shared goal in mind.
2. Be Proactive
If you know about upcoming vacations, days off work, doctor’s appointments, pool parties, or other plans, make sure you give your co-parent as much notice as possible if it in any way affects your parenting plan. Chances are, big vacations will lead you to create a new plan over the summer months. If creating a temporary child custody arrangement for the summer is something you are both interested in, try to be proactive about making these plans concrete. Keep track of any upcoming dates and meet with your ex to draw up a complete plan. In this plan, decide who will have the kids on what days, and make sure to think about long vacations and childcare. If your kids are younger, you will want to consider who will watch them while they’re out of school. Will you hire a nanny, a childcare service, put them in summer camp, or will one of you be staying home with them? In either case, find a solution you can both agree on. Remember, the earlier you create this plan the easier it will be to make plans of your own. Knowing which days you will or will not have your kids can make planning additional vacations or barbeques and other summer events drastically easier.
3. Prioritize Your Kids
Remember to consider what your kids want. It can be very easy to get caught up in arranging what works best for you and your co-parent, but remember that this is your kids’ summer too. If they have choices for childcare during the summer, try to let them have a say. If they’d prefer summer camp over a nanny, see if that is doable for you and your ex. Also, think about their hobbies, sports teams, or birthday parties they’d like to participate in, and adjust your parenting plan so that they can still participate in the things they enjoy.
Creating a parenting plan for the summer can be difficult, which is why our family law attorneys are here to help. Contact Alternative Divorce Solutionsto request a free consultation with our Orange County mediation attorneys.