Divorced or separated New Jersey parents raising children together know the challenges of making and following a custody schedule. Most parenting time agreements have different custody schedules for the school year and summer.
Before summer begins, you are likely already planning vacations or special activities for your children. They may be involved in summer sports, attending summer camps or have summer jobs.
Most summer custody schedules allow each parent larger chunks of parenting time to accommodate summer activities. For example, parents who follow a two-day/three-day alternating schedule during the school year may switch to a week on/week off schedule during the summer.
Expect the unexpected
Even with the best of intentions on the part of both parents and a set summer custody schedule, challenges may still arise. A vacation may need to be postponed due to travel issues, the weather may cause events to be cancelled or any number of other unexpected things may occur that disrupt a carefully planned summer schedule.
As a co-parent, one of the biggest things you can do to minimize stress during these times is communicate. Start discussing any summer plans or vacations in the spring, so you both have a general idea of each other’s plans.
Keep each other in the loop
Provide details of any vacation plans to each other, including dates you will leave and return, flight numbers or your intended driving route and where you will stay. Although your co-parent may not need or even ask for this information, giving it to them may show them that you are making a good faith effort to keep them informed.
Make sure your parenting agreement contains language about the timeframe for notifying your co-parent about summer plans. A common timeframe is 60 days, meaning if you want to take a vacation with your child, you must tell your co-parent at least 60-days in advance.
This helps avoid conflicting schedules and reduces the chance your co-parent will become angry or resentful, thinking that you are trying to take their time away with the children by suddenly springing vacation or other summer plans upon them.
Summertime is when many of our happiest memories with our families are made. You should be able to enjoy the summer with your children and keeping these tips in mind can help you do that.