Co-parenting During Summer Break
I know it is early, but now is the time for families who are co-parenting to start thinking about summer time-sharing. It’s common for parenting agreements to have provisions that require notifications to each other in advance of vacations or to get approval for camp, school or other activities. There may also be additional shared costs related to summertime activities that may need to be budgeted for and agreed upon.
Things to do now:
- Confirm school end date and next year’s begin date.
- Re-read the parenting plan and any other agreements regarding parenting and expenses related to the children such as transportation, supervision, fees, activities, uniforms, etc.
- If there are activities you know you want your children to be involved in, get information now about the schedule, deadlines for enrollment, attendance requirements and costs.
- When reviewing the parenting plan, make sure the agreement is consistent with your upcoming summer plans. If not, address it soon! It is ok if you don’t have summer plans well defined yet, but you should be planning and getting any required approvals before the deadlines.
Things To Think About Now:
Are there any special vacations or family events during the summer that your kids should be attending? Examples may be an out of town family gathering or wedding.
- What will the children’s day look like when they are not in school? Do they need supervision during this time? Will there be any camps, out of state travel, extended stays with relatives or friends?
- Do the school end/begin dates align with the parenting plan and agreed schedule?
- Will there be extra costs related to the summer time-sharing? Do you have prior arrangements as to how those are to be paid?
- Are there any special notifications that must be made to the other parent about vacation time, schedule changes or summer time-sharing in general? Re-read your parenting plan if you have one!
- Will you need additional help with transportation or child care that requires approval or financial contributions from the other parent?
- Try to identify as many potential issues now. My experience is that it is often easier to deal with potential problems in advance instead of waiting until the last minute.
Keep in mind that some kids become stressed if they don’t know what they will be doing or what their schedule will be for the summer. Help minimize this by planning this with them in advance.
Finally, as kids get older and the families of both parents change, some of the provisions of the parenting plan may become unreasonable, unnecessary or simply unworkable. If that is the case, get those parenting plan provisions changed well in advance. The best parenting plans are the ones that never leave the filing cabinet because the parents are able to talk to one another and make agreements in the very best interest of their children.