Summer is nearly upon us and school is ending soon. Your children may be excited about more free time, but summer can pose unique child custody challenges for parents. Here are the do’s and don’ts of child custody plans over summer to help you and your co-parent have a stress free summer.
Do’s of Summer Co-Parenting
- Do make your summer parenting plan in advance. If your parenting plan doesn’t already address the summertime, it’s time to sit down with your co-parent and develop a plan for the months your child is out of school. Once approved by the court, this modification will be responsible for dictating your custody schedule during the summer months.
- Do communicate with your co-parent. Summer trips, camps, and activities can be fun for your family, but it’s important to communicate these plans with your co-parent early. Notify them of vacation plans, summer activities, or summer-only changes that may occur before they happen. If you and your co-parent struggle to communicate, a mediator can help.
- Do consider your kids’ feelings. Even small changes can feel like big changes when you’re young, so don’t forget to take this into account when making summer plans. Seeing one parent less, staying in a different home, or other changes can be uncomfortable and can cause an emotional reaction. Talk to your children about your plans and help them understand what will happen so they feel secure. If they’re older, they may want to help you plan or have plans of their own you may consider.
Don’ts of Summer Co-Parenting
- Don’t take it personally if your child misses their other parent. If your summer plans are dramatically different than the rest of the year or you’re planning a trip away, it’s possible your child may take some time to adjust and miss their other parent. This is natural, so you shouldn’t feel hurt if they seem to miss the other parent more than they’re excited to see you. You can help ease their worries by planning fun activities but also planning plenty of time to talk with their other parent on the phone or on a web-calling program like Skype.
- Don’t make legal decisions without talking to your attorney. When making changes to your normal parenting plan, it’s important to remember that custody is a legal issue. Even if you have informal arrangements with your co-parent, the formal custody orders are what will be enforced if there is an issue. Be sure to consult your lawyer before making any changes or if you foresee any issues.
- Don’t skip your support payments. You may have physical custody of your child more during the summer, but that doesn’t mean you can skip paying child support. Unless you have a modification, you are still legally obligated to pay what has been ordered, whether your child is living with you or not for the summer. If you want to request a modification, talk to your attorney.
Planning ahead can help your family enjoy summertime without the stress, and Adams Law Firm can help! Our experienced Katy family law attorneys can assist you with your child custody and child support modifications for the summer.