One of the top questions we get asked this time of year is: "When should I handle my kids' visitation during the summer break?"
Immediately. If you haven't done so already, you should discuss your summer plans with your co-parent. The greatest challenge is figuring out how to co-parent during the summer break, especially this year with so many schedules changing constantly. Working out the visitation schedules or parenting time for the summer can be very stressful. The key word is "can be"; it is up to you and your co-parent as to whether or not it will be a positive or negative experience. Remember, both of you as parents are wanting to spend as much time as you can with the children.
Here are some suggestions to make your summer negotiations a little easier:
1. Create a Standard:
Some families choose to alternate vacation times and schedules when summer hits. Each parent wants to go on vacation and spend time with their child, but summer is only so long. The need for a standard on how to handle the summer months can help to eliminate any potential issues of fairness.
2. Be Flexible and Compromise:
Remember to take into account work schedules, you do not want the kids sitting at home alone at any point during the summer. The easiest summer schedule for everyone may require some changes from the normal visitation schedule and work schedules. It may be hard to break long-standing traditions, but developing new traditions can help to reduce the stress.
3. Be Respectful:
Treat the other parent with respect, even if you think they do not deserve it. You may not want to be friends anymore, but you need to figure out how to communicate with your ex-spouse without all the emotional baggage. Using tools from our website can help you to de-escalate the gridlock. Visit www.WriterLaw.com for more information.
4. Don't Mix Issues:
Bringing up old or unrelated issues may compound the problem and make it more difficult to come to an agreed upon summer visitation schedule. To preserve the peace, it may behoove you and your co-parent to set aside your differences for the sake of the children. Summer time is supposed to be a fun time for you and your children after all!
5. Choose your Battles:
Do not fight for the sake of fighting. Perhaps you want to take a week long vacation, but your co-parent wants to take a two week long vacation. Even though this may feel like a long time to be away from your child, be grateful for the time you spend with your children and realize that they are likely very excited about it!
6. Protect the Children:
Your children could have negative memories of summer break if they have to witness you and their other parent arguing about what to do with them. Be mindful of what you say, children pick up on most things.
7. Plan Ahead:
Starting talking about any changes to the summer visitation schedule sooner rather than later, the longer you wait the more stress you will add. And plan for everything, late pickups or early drop-offs. You never know.
8. Focus on the Children:
You have no control over the other parent's behaviors, but you can control yours. Taking the high road may prove to be difficult and arduous, but you can do anything for the benefit of your children.
9. Ask the Kids:
Find out what it is important to your kids. They may have a summer tradition that holds a special place for them. If this is the case you should try and accommodate them. Show them their feelings and wants are important, not just yours.
10. Take a Breath:
The summer can be stressful even if you aren't divorced, so remember to take a moment to breathe, relax and soak up all of the sunshine. Enjoy the company of friends and family and don't let yourself get too overwhelmed.
At Writer Law Group, PC, we understand your children are the most important people to you. We listen to your needs and concerns and work with you to ensure that you have every resource available to you. For more information or to get started, call us at (949) 823-1027.