For divorced or separated parents who share children with their former spouses or partners in California, the summer months can be challenging to navigate. When the children are out of school, they do not have the familiarity with the structure they have during the school year. Parents might need to revisit their parenting plans and make changes as necessary to reach a workable agreement with their children’s other parent.
Parenting plans during the summer
The parenting plan for the school year might not make as much sense during the summer. For example, since the children are not in school, they might not have to spend the weeknights with the parent who lives within the school district.
Parents might want to discuss creating a more equal parenting plan to encourage liberal visitation with each parent. Talking about holidays, including Memorial Day weekend, Father’s Day and the Fourth of July, and how parenting time will work on each of those days is important.
Both parents should have the opportunity to take their children on vacation during the summer months. To make planning fairer, the parents might want to alternate years for who will have the first choice and when the other parent should be notified.
For example, the parent with the first choice during year one might be required to notify the other parent of his or her vacation plans with the child no later than May 1. The parent with the second choice should then be required to notify the other parent of his or her vacation plans by May 15.
During year two, the parents can alternate who gets the first choice. This approach to child custody during the summer months makes it much easier for the parents to plan and gives the children something to look forward to.
Sharing child custody does not have to be difficult during the summer. By carefully planning and respecting the other parent, the summer months can be relaxing for both parents and their children. Kids should be able to look forward to spending time with their families during the summer without worrying about conflict.