It’s May and there are 107 different children’s activities, graduations, spirit days, field days, and end-of-grade testing before you and your kids finally reach the glorious freedom of summer! Except now that the kids are out of school, you and your co-parent’s parenting time schedules will adjust to the “summer schedule” and you’ll need to make some modifications to continue successfully co-parenting over the summer.
Summer Parenting Time Arrangements
Physical custody of children is typically divided into two separate categories in a custody agreement or order: (1) “Regular Parenting Time” and (2) “Holiday Parenting Time.” Summer vacation falls into the Holiday Parenting Time category which typically supersedes the Regular Parenting Time schedule. You and your co-parent will look to the custody agreement’s summer parenting time terms to determine what the parenting time schedule will be for the 9-12 weeks of summer until your kids go back to school in the fall.
Summer parenting time schedules vary depending upon your specific family situation. Some summer parenting time schedules we frequently see are as follows:
Choice of Summer Vacation Weeks, if applicable
For summer vacation and summer camp planning, most custody agreements have a designated date by which each parent must notify the other of the summer vacation weeks he or she has chosen (typically February 1 or March 1). Check your custody agreement to make sure you have informed your co-parent of your chosen vacation weeks by the designated date. Co-parents typically agree that they will not choose weeks for vacation during which the children have prearranged camps or other special activities that the parents have already agreed upon and arranged. If there is a disagreement between co-parents regarding choice of weeks for summer vacation, usually custody agreements will indicate that one parent’s choice will prevail in odd-numbered years and the other parent’s choice will prevail in even-numbered years.
Communication about Summer Vacation
Nearly every custody agreement requires that parents communicate travel itineraries (like flight information), emergency location information, and phone numbers prior to traveling out of town with the children. Make sure to keep your co-parent up to date with that information. If the shoe was on the other foot (and it will be!), you would want to know where the kids were staying and their general itinerary, as well. Treat your co-parent with kindness and courtesy by providing the kids’ travel information without being asked.
The most important part of scheduling summer parenting time, vacations, and summer camps with your co-parent is to keep the lines of communication open. There will inevitably be unexpected minor adjustments in transporting the children, summer camp drop-off and pick-up times, and the parenting time schedule due to the difference in structure of summertime childcare and potential travel delays that could occur. Remember to keep your focus on what’s best for the kids and how you and your co-parent can work together to cover your kids’ needs over the summer. Make sure to schedule in fun time, too!
If all of this sounds confusing and you aren’t sure how to interpret the custody agreement you already have, or you need a custody agreement put in place that defines summer parenting time, please reach out to our office to schedule a consultation.
Lindsey Dasher is the Managing Partner at Dasher Law PLLC