Tips for Managing the Summer Scheduling Shift After Divorce

Managing co-parenting time during the school year is by no means easy, but most families come up with an arrangement that works for parents and children. Whether you’re swapping households weekly, you’ve got a mid-week split, or one parent gets the kids every other weekend, handoffs tend to follow a set routine.

When summer arrives, your regular schedule could go out the window unless you have a carefully written custody agreement. You’ll not only have to account for children needing daytime supervision during the week, but they may have a range of activities lined up, from summer school to sleepaway camp.

Each parent may also want to plan family vacations that disrupt the co-parenting arrangement. This is why it is so important to plan ahead in your custody agreement by making sure that vacations are carefully considered and spelled out.

How can you manage the scheduling shifts that occur during the summer so each parent can enjoy time with their children, while the best interests of the kids are upheld? Here are a few tips to get you on track for a summer of fun.

Plan Ahead to Avoid Conflicts

Whether you consciously and amicably uncoupled or you hired an experienced divorce lawyer to represent you in a contentious split, agreeing to a set custody arrangement was probably part of the process. Unfortunately, unless your custody agreement plans for vacation, summer can throw a monkey wrench into your best-laid plans where co-parenting is concerned.

It’s usually not too difficult to plan for activities like summer school, sports, or camps, but if you want to schedule vacations to see family or visit an out-of-state location, early planning is key to avoiding conflicts. It is wise to make sure that your custody agreement sets forth the time in which each parent choose their vacation time and what happens when the regular schedule resumes.

A study from Arizona State University showed that parental conflict after divorce contributes to fear of abandonment and both physical and mental health concerns for children, so it’s important to do all you can to stay on the same page with your ex-spouse.

Allow for Some Flexibility

Planning can only get you so far, and then life just happens. Sometimes, kids are going to get sick and miss a trip or planned activities. Other times, opportunities for summer fun will arise at the last minute.

You don’t have to be a doormat, but neither should you dismiss requests for modifications out of hand. Remember that co-parenting is a dynamic approach to raising children between two households, and the situation will evolve as children grow and parent/child and co-parent relationships change.

When you allow for flexibility, you can always negotiate swaps to make up for lost parenting time. It also makes it easier when you’re the one requesting changes.

Use Targeted Scheduling Technologies

Sharing a family schedule could be as simple as setting up an Outlook Calendar, but you might be surprised to learn that there’s software specifically designed for managing co-parenting and custody arrangements.

The OurFamilyWizard app has tools to help you and your ex-spouse communicate, schedule, manage expenses, and maintain transparency and accountability.

Put Children First

To some degree, parental schedules will take priority when it comes to planning, but don’t forget to consider your children’s wants and needs, including activities and trips that will help them have a great summer.

With early planning, a commitment to flexibility, and helpful technologies, everyone can enjoy quality family time during summer vacation.

If you need assistance negotiating or modifying your child custody arrangement, a qualified family law attorney can help.



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