Summer vacation for schools around southern California is here, which means kids are getting excited to be out for a couple of months and divorced parents may be feeling some increased anxiety. All parents, together or separated, may have trouble answering how they’ll entertain the kids without school occupying weekday work hours.
These challenges are even more exemplified for separated and divorced parents, so it’s important for co-parenting families to be as prepared as possible for these schedule changes so that summer break is an exciting time for not just the child(ren), but the whole family.
Steven Fritsch is a certified family law specialist when it comes to child support, child custody, and many other issues that may arise for co-parenting families during summer vacations. This list of 5 essential tips will help put your entire family in a much better situation to have a fun, successful summer.
Tip #1 — Make a Summer Plan During Mediation
It can be enormously beneficial for parents to thoroughly go through a summer vacation plan during their divorce process, essentially giving divorced parents a ‘road map’ to help them begin navigating the potentially stormy summer scheduling waters.
The big issue within this type of divorce settlement situation is that many parents don’t fully consider all the ramifications involved with a ‘summer schedule’ and how it differs greatly from regular, school year co-parenting schedules. These types of conflict resolutions can also be neglected during divorce settlements due to disagreements about other major issues many separating couples face.
But when it comes down to it, summer vacation parenting schedules are something that really should take a considerable amount of time within your settlement, and maybe even a distinct clause. This includes a whole array of legally binding agreements, including sharing expenses for summer camp and other activities.
Tip #2 — Consider Having Two Schedules (School Year/Summer)
There are many divorced parents who develop a parenting plan that works with them, but neglect child schedule changes once the school year ends. Sometimes even Judges will only order specific scheduling details without detailing the necessary changes around summer vacations.
Working parents fully understand how summer camp planning and other activities are important for child(ren) to remain safe and well cared for during regular working hours. Making sure the kids have a fun summer break can be crucial for divorced parents to honor.
This is one reason why it may be a good idea to choose summer camps and daily activities/supervision that somewhat mirrors a school year schedule. It’s reasonable to understand that this isn’t always possible, which is why summer vacation requires parents to make certain compromises.
Planning is key when it comes to figuring out which camps you want your kids to go to, and more importantly how co-parents should work together to make sure child supervision is properly maintained. Filling in the gaps in terms of summer camp options is also something that can be decided during the divorce process.
There’s no doubt that conflicts will only get worse when they are left to the last minute to solve, and even planning vacations during specific summer weeks is something that needs to be planned well ahead of time and respectfully.
The following are a few tips we recommend in terms of summer co-parenting scheduling:
- Coordinate summer camps as a team
- Ensure camps/activities don’t interfere too much with parenting times
- Get input from the kids
- Be wary of leaving the kids home alone
Tip #3 — Consider a ‘Summer Vacation’ Clause
One of the major benefits of hiring a family law specialist is that we can help you to properly plan for summer and limit any potential future conflicts between co-parents.
There are countless travel/scheduling advantages for a ‘summer vacation clause’ within divorce settlements, pertaining predominately to giving ex-spouses ‘notice’ about summer plans. Co-parents are always avoiding any kind of scheduling disasters, but it can be a lot easier said than done.
When divorced parents get together in terms of going over summer plans it can make any kind ‘racing’ to make plans go away, and this is a real issue sometimes when parents want to plan the same vacation dates and one parent ‘wins’ because they planned their vacation first. This is why we recommend that co-parents get together at least once per year before any kind of airfare and vacation packages are already booked.
Every couple can figure out how they’d like to do this type of meeting and schedule agreements in their own unique way. Sometimes couples use mediators to help them get successfully through this type of yearly planning. But it’s important to always understand that these meetings are about providing your child(ren) with lasting, positive memories with both parents.
So always be flexible and supportive of all vacation time your child gets to have while out of school!
Tip #4 — Try to Eliminate Conflicts
We fully understand how avoiding conflicts isn’t always easy, which is why we try to help co-parenting relationships of all types try to build some positive momentum during summertime. We truly believe that small gestures and consideration can go a long way in terms of helping rebuild relationships that may have rocky pasts.
The following are some of our co-parenting tips in terms of avoiding conflicts for summer vacation planning:
- Share the details of your vacation plans
- Avoid any kind of ‘outdoing’ one another
- Foster and accommodate communication between the kids and your ex during vacations
Tip #5 — Get Some Quality Alone Time
It’s normal for divorced parents to feel anxious while their kids are away at camp or with their other parent for extended periods of time, but try to take advantage of this time as well for yourself.
Recharge your batteries in whatever way you think works best for you, and remember that your friends are people you should be giving your valuable time to as well as extended family.
Contact a Trusted Co-Parenting Attorney for Help
We hope that all of these tips help you and your family have a great summer break here in southern California and beyond, and if you have any questions always feel free to reach out to us for more information about how you can make your summer vacations more manageable with your co-parent and child(ren).