How to Address Child Custody Issues During the Summer
Summer is quickly approaching, and some divorced parents may have vacation plans that include their child. Whether these plans include taking lengthy trips or having children stay with a parent for a whole week instead of a weekend, summer schedules are often quite different than they are during the school year. Parents who share child custody may struggle to address these changing schedules and ensure that they can spend time with their children as planned. To make it easier, here are some tips on what you should and should not do when addressing issues related to summer vacations.
How to Co-Parent in the Summer
There are a variety of ways to make co-parenting easier during the summer months when parents and children may be able to spend more time with each other. During this time, it is important to:
- Plan in advance: If you have any plans with your child that deviate from your parenting plan, you will want to discuss them with your former spouse ahead of time. Ideally, you will be able to work together to come to an agreement about any changes to your parenting time schedules during the summer months while ensuring that the decisions you make will protect your children’s best interests.
- Get your child involved: Divorce can be hard on kids. They may already be adjusting to dividing their time between parents’ homes, and during this time, maintain a consistent routine. No matter how fun a vacation is, it can still be a disruption that could make it harder for your child to cope with the changes that have come with your divorce. To minimize these types of difficulties, involve children in vacation planning by asking them what they would like to do, and be sure they know what to expect. When children are older, you may also need to determine whether they will have any of their own plans, and be sure to consider this when preparing for summer.
- Keep communication open: As you carry out your summer vacation plans, be sure to remain in contact with the other parent, and make sure your child communicates with them regularly. Encourage phone calls and texts so they can stay in touch.
How Not to Co-Parent in the Summer
As you prepare for summer, you may inadvertently take some steps that are not appropriate for the situation. You should do your best to avoid the following mistakes:
- Take it personally when your child misses your former spouse: It can be hard to hear that your child misses their other parent. You may even think that this is because they do not want to be with you, although that is probably not true. It is natural for children to miss their parents when they are apart for a long time, and you should not let this have a negative impact on your time with them.
- Make legal decisions without speaking to your lawyer: Child custody is a legal issue, and the steps you take may have unforeseen effects on your situation. You should always speak to your attorney before making any changes to your parenting agreement to ensure you are complying with the law.
- Skip support payments: A change in your parenting schedule during the summer may mean that you will spend more time with your child. When this is the case, you may think that you should not pay as much child support as you do during the school year. However, unless your divorce decree states otherwise or the court makes a change to your child support obligations, you are required to continue making child support payments as ordered by the court.
Contact Our Rolling Meadows Child Custody Attorney
Child custody issues can be difficult to resolve, and summertime often brings new considerations for everyone involved. To ensure that this summer with your child goes smoothly, it is important that you speak to a lawyer to address any changes to your parenting plan. Skilled Hoffman Estates divorce lawyer Nicholas W. Richardson can help with your child custody issues at any time of year. Contact our office at 847.873.6741 to arrange a free consultation.