Is there any time of the year that a child looks forward to more than summer vacation? It’s not just the thought of being out of school which turns summer into the greatest kid paradise ever. It’s also a schedule of sports, summer camps, and vacations to places like Disney World, the Blue Ridge Parkway, or some kind of overseas getaway. Summer vacations and divorce can be tricky if not worked out properly.
Most of us have fond memories of family vacations. We can tell stories about long car trips, kids drawing invisible “don’t cross” lines in the back seat, asking “are we there yet” 50 million times, and begging for that tasty morsel of junk food in the convenience stories along the way.
Summer is a great time for families and kids. So, what happens when divorce or separation rears its head, and all of a sudden, there are visitation schedules and custody agreements to be honored? Does this mean the end of summer as we know it? Summer vacations and divorce are important to plan for and get in writing.
Both parents will want to spend some quality summer time with the children, so communication is important and a plan needs to be drawn up in advance.
Many parents think that sticking to the standard every other weekend schedule during summer months is the best way to avoid conflict. Unfortunately, a standard parenting plan schedule doesn’t really allow for extended vacation trips, which can be the source of lifelong memories and bonding experiences.
A detailed and carefully thought out summer schedule allows you to make travel plans in advance, arrange for time off from work, as well as scheduling summer camps and other extended activities (such as sports or music camps). Here is a good example of how the needs of the children must come before the needs of the parents.
One other thing to consider is the wealth of educational opportunities that now exist over the summer for students of all abilities and ages. Particularly with gifted children, who may not be getting adequate enrichment at school, summer provides opportunities for academic involvement that can pay extensive dividends when school resumes in the fall.
Creating a clear summer schedule in your parenting plan decreases conflict with both parents because both parents have a say and must agree to the plan. Remember that any changes to a court ordered visitation schedule must be approved by the court before implementation.
If your divorce is still being negotiated, you have the flexibility to go ahead and ask for some summer break assistance now as part of your overall parenting plan.
Things to consider in your parenting plan with the court are that summer break gets equally divided between the parents. If that is not feasible, then consider adding in uninterrupted weeks to the schedule so that parents can take vacations or do extended activities with the children
Remember that the court always considers the best interests of the child to be paramount. Keep that in mind as you look at summer options for the children.
If you are in the Atlanta metro area, especially in Henry, Clayton, or Fayette counties, and you would like some assistance crafting a summer vacation visitation schedule, Family Matters Law Group can help. We think summer vacation periods can be extremely formative for a child.With years of experience in divorce and custody cases, we’re ready to hear your story and help get you the quality summer break time with your child that you both deserve. You can request a consultation through our convenient online contact form. We look forward to working with you!