Summer Child Custody Plans

Believe it or not, summer is fast approaching.  Before you know it, your kids will be out of school for the summer, and your normal routine will be out of commission. A change in the children’s schedule will likely cause changes to your normal custody schedule.  While every family needs to plan for the summer season, it’s especially important for divorced parents to plan ahead for the summer routine. 

In formulating summer custody plans, it is possible that conflict will arise between you and your co-parent.  You might already have plans in mind for when you'd like to take your kids on a trip, while your co-parent might also have similar plans in mind.  Before these issues have any affect on your children’s actual summertime plans, work out a summer custody plan with your co-parent well ahead of time.

Communicate with your co-parent about your individual vacation plans.  If you open the lines of communication early enough, you may be able to avoid having an argument over conflicting vacation dates.  Don’t reserve anything until you’ve had a conversation with your co-parent about it.  Your dates may already be pretty concrete, but still let your co-parent know before finalizing any plans.  It is worse to change plans after you have already made reservations than it is to do so beforehand.  Plus, telling your co-parent early on about your vacation plans will hopefully allow you to lock down those days without conflict and give your co-parent a better idea as to when they could take their vacation.

Check your work and social schedules for any plans that could affect your summer custody plan.  Whether it is a family picnic that you want to bring the kids to or an out of town work conference, get these dates marked on the schedule now.  This will allow you to work out any trades or swaps in parenting time well ahead of time.  Also, take a look at each of your children’s schedules for things like sports games, birthday parties, or other pre-planned events which you know they’ll want to attend.  You may even want to attend some of these events with your kids, so discuss these dates with your co-parent.  Decide which events you may each attend individually and which you may want to attend together.  

Plan for summer daycare now, if necessary.  With your kids out of school, you might need to consider making arrangements for your kids to attend a daycare program so that your kids are supervised while also having something fun to do each day.  Some local parks provide summer daycare where counselors plan activities for the kids to do from the morning through late afternoon.  Also, across the country, the YMCA offers summer programs where kids can spend the day playing with other kids, going on field trips, doing art projects, and much more.  Programs such as these range in price, so research local programs near you for options that work for your family.  It’s even possible that some of your kids’ friends will be at these programs, too.  Talk to the parents of your children’s friends to see what their plans are for the summer.   

Finally, talk to your kids.  See if they have anything in mind that they’d like to do this summer, then try and work in those ideas into the summer schedule.  Summer vacation is a special time for any kid, so work as hard as you can towards giving your kids the best summer vacation to date!