No two Virginia parents will have the exact same parenting journey in life, although many parents can relate to one another, especially those who have recently navigated divorce. Devising a child custody plan that includes terms of agreement for summer break can be both useful yet challenging. Even if you already have a court order in place, it’s a good idea to review your co-parenting agreement as summer approaches each year.
As your kids grow older, their needs change. You, too, may experience changes in life regarding your work schedule, health or financial situation. Any and all of these issues can have significant influence on your summertime co-parenting plan. There are several ways to keep stress to a minimum and make children’s best interests a central focus.
The more you get in writing, the better
It might seem silly or like a waste of time to write out detailed plans about your children’s summer break from school when you divorce. However, the more details you incorporate into your co-parenting agreement, the less room there is for confusion or dispute. Consider making a list of all known activities in which your kids will be participating each summer.
Also note any financial expenses that may be associated with day camps, sports training or other events. The more that you and your ex discuss and get in writing ahead of time, such as who will pay for what and who will drive kids where they need to go, the less likelihood there is of co-parenting disputes arising.
Keep kids in the loop but avoid using them as messengers
Your family is still your family after divorce; it just changes how you do things, such as taking summer vacations. While it’s a good idea to discuss summer activities with your children or to seek their opinion about a particular issue, it’s best to avoid using your kids as messengers to communicate with your ex.
Not only can this cause stress for your kids who may become confused about where their loyalties should lie, it can also cause legal complications, especially if a message doesn’t get accurately relayed from one parent to the other.
Summer hours might prompt changes in a co-parenting routine
If your work schedule is different during summer months than it is throughout the school year or there’s a window of time each day when your kids will need adult supervision, it’s important to discuss these issues when devising a summer time co-parenting agreement.
If a former spouse refuses to cooperate, is impeding a parent/child relationship or is directly disregarding an existing court order, it might necessitate litigation to resolve the problem. The court always has children’s best interests in mind when making child custody decisions and can take steps to enforce a court order that is being disobeyed.