Co-parenting can be challenging year-round, but it is especially tricky during the summer months. Many people are thrown out of their usual routines from Memorial Day to Labor Day, including moms, dads, and kids.
The simplest way to ensure a smooth co-parenting experience for everyone when the weather becomes warm is to get ahead of challenges with proactive planning. It is never too early to begin mapping out a successful summer co-parenting venture.
Be Open-Minded About Changes to the School Year
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools have either shutdown early or have extended online learning longer than expected. However, many divorced parents talk about the school year in their child custody and co-parenting arrangements. Therefore, moms and dads must be willing to make concessions, particularly due to unanticipated circumstances. This could mean one parent having the child a week or two weeks longer than expected.
As most attorneys agree, concentrating on the needs of the child often helps divorced parents come to agreements about what to do in unexpected situations, like the coronavirus pandemic.
How Should I Plan Vacations and Holidays?
It is always a smart idea for divorced couples to talk about their upcoming vacations and holidays with one another. Even if they have to discuss these items through their attorneys, they should know each other’s calendars. Otherwise, a parent may plan a surprise trip that could coincide with activities that the other parent had already planned.
Even weekend camping or beach mini-vacations should be brought into the open before they occur. After all, both parents deserve to know where their kids will be at all times. Interestingly, some divorced parents who remain highly amicable may still want to take family vacations with their children because they get along, despite the divorce.
How Can I Use Technology to Make Things Easier?
Practically everyone has a smartphone and using it to make life less complicated makes a lot of sense. Some apps and software platforms have been created for divorced parents to figure out child care arrangements more efficiently. Parents who are technologically comfortable may want to experiment with some of these software portals, or simply create a jointly shared calendar that that they can both access. The calendar allows them to navigate their parenting plan. Plus, it can show which parent needs to drop a child off at an all-week camp, and which one is expected to pick up the child.
What if There is a Change in the Schedule?
Parents who make changes to their child custody agreement for the summer should work with their family law attorneys to put everything in writing. That way, one party cannot say that they disagreed with something. It may seem like an unnecessary formality, but if it helps keep the peace, it will be well worth the time and effort. Plus, it will be one more place where the schedule is noted.
Talk to the Kids About the Summer
Kids who are older will probably have some specific thoughts about what they want to do over the summer months. They might even have planned some fun outings with friends that their parents do not know about. For that reason, moms and dads should bring their older children and teens into the conversation about what happens to them for the summer.
A teenager may resent being told to go to mom’s house during the week if dad’s house is closer to a summer job location. The more the kids understand the custody and co-parenting arrangements, the less likely they will resist switching houses or going on vacations.
Avoid Overloading a Child with Day Camps
Some kids appreciate being at a camp practically every week. Some would rather spend the summer at home. Others want to use the summer to get ahead of fall academics, such as those taking advanced courses when school resumes. Parents need to be cognizant of these realities and avoid overscheduling a child. Again, this should be discussed with the child foremost to see what makes sense.
In some circumstances, kids will need to be in some type of child care service during typical business hours. However, if they can do something else, they might prefer the alternative.
Should I Stick to a Strict Schedule?
Children have friends and those friends sometimes set up parties and events on short notice. A child might rather stay at mom’s house an extra night one week to attend a friend’s birthday party. Moms and dads who are co-parenting should exhibit a willingness to adapt to occasional changes. Though, sometimes, it might not be feasible for a child to attend a special occasion, mothers and fathers should not deny a request without consideration.
Talk About Costs Upfront
Summer camps and activities can be costly. Parents may not have the money to partially pay for specific events, such as workshops or classes. Before signing a child up for anything, both parents need to be clear about how much each parent is paying.
Sometimes, moms and dads start this conversation by looking at their overall activity budget. This allows them to see how much money they have together to spend on activities for the kids, both expected and unexpected. Being transparent about costs is important. It also avoids confrontations between ex-spouses and kids.
Having Fun Should be a Priority, But Keep House Rules the Same
As a final note, summer should be a time to make memories. Nevertheless, house rules still need to stand. Moms and dads should plan to keep most rules intact, such as chores.
Some rules, like when a child needs to wake up during the week, may be negotiable. Keeping a semblance of consistency between both homes will make the fall months less of an adjustment. If parents need to adjust custody plans, it is beneficial to speak to a lawyer.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Work with Clients Who Need to Establish Summer Co-Parenting Plans
Do you need help mapping out your co-parenting schedule? If so, speak to one of our Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC today. We understand that parents want to spend time with their children, and we will ensure that your summer co-parenting plan goes smoothly. Contact us online or call us at 443-589-0150 for a free consultation today. Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.