Divorce is stressful, and handling a summer co-parenting plan often makes it even more difficult. Your children have two parents, and avoiding conflict with the other parent is essential for the emotional well-being of your kids. Remember, summertime is meant to be fun, and we should try to keep it that way, even in the midst of a divorce. So, how can you make co-parenting in the summer easier?
In addition to focusing on planning, coordination, and communication, there are some other tricks to making summer co-parenting easier for everyone involved:
1. Compare Schedules
Make sure to sit down with the other parent and plan out the summer. If you both work, you need to be aware of the other parent’s schedule, and you will need to coordinate any time off so that vacations do not conflict. Plan around birthdays, extra-curricular activities, summer camps, visits from family, and other events in which your children routinely participated in the past.
2. Get the Children’s Input
Although it is essential that the interests and desires of the children are met, it is also important that both parents have the ability to spend as much time with the children as possible. So, discuss the options with the children, obtain their input, and make summertime plans based upon their ages, needs, and desires. However, don’t exclude the other parent. Whatever you decide to do, let the children know, but don’t put them in the middle. You may find that your children are excited about spending extended periods of time with their other parent. Be prepared, don’t get mad, and enjoy your time on your own. It is healthy for your children to enjoy time with both parents, so encourage it.
3. Coordinate Extra-Curricular Activities
During the summer, your children may wish to be involved in certain planned activities, including sports, church related events, and summer camps. Encourage this, but make sure to coordinate these activities as much as possible with the other parent before allowing your children to participate. Also, make sure that you discuss and agree to the extent of each parent’s financial responsibility associated with the children’s participation in these activities.
4. Plan Trips in Advance
If you would like to take a vacation during the summer time, make sure to plan for it as soon as possible. Once you have made your plans, immediately let the other parent know what they are. Do not wait until just before school lets out to make these plans or to coordinate with the other parent. Make sure you communicate with the other parent in writing, and receive some form of acknowledgment in writing as well.
5. Practice Flexibility, Cooperation, and Understanding
Your children are one of the most important parts of this planning. This divorce may be between you and your spouse, but your children are going to be affected by whatever you decide to do. You are, more than likely, living in two separate households, under different work and financial circumstances. You need to be flexible with your desires, cooperate in the planning, and understand when things may change. Try to work with it, because ultimately, it may be your children who suffer, and not your ex-spouse.
If you need to speak with an attorney about creating or enforcing a summer parenting plan, or other family law matters, call Held Law Firm to day to schedule a case assessment with one of our experienced attorneys: (865) 685-4780.