Communication is key: sharing parenting time over summer vacation

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Friday, May 24, 2013.

Here’s to a happy and meaningful Memorial Day for all parents and kids. With the unofficial beginning of summer at hand, however, many unmarried and divorced parents are about to begin what can be one of the most challenging times of year for positive co-parenting: summer vacation.

Most child custody orders include a plan for the allocation of parenting time, although the specificity of the plan varies widely. Even when a parenting plan is well thought-out, though, life can be unpredictable. Parents have many opportunities they would like to share with their kids, such as vacation, summer camp or special event, and those may not be covered in the original order.

Suppose your children’s other parent offers to send the kids to a sleep-away camp in another state. If you don’t think it’s a good idea for the kids to go, how will you resolve the dispute?

A family conflict specialist recently wrote about how to resolve the parenting time issues that are bound to come up this summer. Her discussion is too long to summarize in a blog post, but you can read more by clicking on the link at the end of this post. Here are some basic principles she recommended keeping in mind as you plan your summer:

Plan ahead: Make your plans early and communicate them to the other parent to avoid conflicts.

Remain respectful and keep things in proportion: There are bound to be disappointments, but try to focus on what’s best for the kids in the long term. Also, focus on your real goal, not the emotions of the moment. A positive summer experience for your kids is what you want most, so focus on that.

Decide what to do together, and what to do apart: You and your ex may have a relationship that allows you to spend some vacations and holidays together. That’s great, but nobody wants to bring their ex on every vacation. Talk openly about who’s coming to what event. Along the same lines, be sure to be open and clear about whether significant others are welcome.

Stick to an agreed-upon budget: Conflicts are bound to arise if one spouse exceeds the agreement at the last minute, even if he or she agrees to pay for the difference.

Keep the kids out of the details: Kids are not well-served by being used as go-betweens between parents — there’s too much room for misunderstandings.

Remember, your breakup is in the past, but your kids’ childhood is happening now. Good communication that keeps that in perspective is the best way to avoid and resolve conflicts over parenting time.

Source: Huffington Post blog, “Graduation? Communion? Bar Mitzvah? Best Tips for Event Planning for Divorced Parents,” Michelle Rozen, May 21, 2013

Related Posts