Summer Holidays – Top Three Custody/Access Tips to Consider
When you are the separated or divorced parents of children, the task of juggling custody can be difficult at the best of times. But the summer holidays – with the absence of school routines, the desire to maximize the time off, and the impetus to travel and enjoy the nice weather – can add further unpredictability to the situation.
Here are some timely tips to consider, when arranging summer custody schedules:
1. Always consider what’s best for the children.
This principle is certainly not limited to summer planning, but the desire to maximize travel and holiday opportunities can obscure its importance somewhat. Always keep in mind that switching between homes and travelling long distances can be hard on children any time of the year, but during the added free time of summer the inconvenience and stress can multiply.
2. Take into account the nature of your parenting relationship.
If you and the child’s other parent are in a high-conflict situation, and have difficulty achieving a successful day-to-day arrangement for custody and access, then it will come as no surprise that planning for the summer may be equally if not more challenging. Assuming that the arrangements are not already covered in a formalized parenting schedule, it may be worthwhile for you and the other parent to craft a separate negotiated agreement; it should ideally cover how custody, access, travel, camps, and other activities during the summer months will be handled, and how any desired changes are to be communicated to each other.
3. Plan well ahead.
Most separated and divorced parents have full-time jobs. This means that it will take some pre-planning and advance requests for vacation time from an employer so that you and your child’s other parent can each maximize the time you can spend quality time with your child over summer. This is especially true for parents of older children, who may be at the age that they are making some plans with friends in their own peer group. It may mean that you, the other parent, and the children have to sit down with a calendar early in the season and figure out what arrangements are feasible for the coming months.
At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.