Vacation Wizard: Tips for Summer Custody Agreements and Visitation
As the school year comes to an end, parents are scheduling camps, vacations and other activities for their children. Of course, this also means that the summer visitation requirements must be addressed for divorced families. Family law attorney, Lanae Harden, gives tips on how to ensure a smooth summer for both the parents and children involved.
If you don’t have a detailed parenting visitation schedule, create one. This may be difficult for former spouses to come to an agreement. If you are unable to come up with a mutually agreeable schedule, consult a professional to aid with this. The more detailed your agreement is, the less room for interpretation, therefore less conflict.
Recognize the emotional impact this may have on the children. A significant change in schedule can bring up emotions for the children. This could be positive or negative emotions, but usually a mixture of both. Children thrive on routine, and summer visitation schedules usually vary significantly from the routines that the children became accustomed to during the school year. Depending on the ages of the children, explain to them the exact schedule and where they will be at any given time. Create a calendar with color coded days signifying when they will be at mom’s house and when they will be at dad’s house.
Plan accordingly. This may include scheduling time off work or altering your work schedule when the children are visiting. Plan appropriate summer-time activities. If you are the non-custodial parent, this may also include arranging for care (nanny, babysitter etc.). If possible, utilize their same care provider at both homes for consistency.
Be supportive if your child misses the other parent. Don’t take this personally or assume this means the child loves the other parent more than you. Look for ways to calm your child and allow them to speak frequently with their other parent. This will only help build your bond with your child.
The best interest of the child is always the most important thing to keep in mind. Both parents should communicate and cooperate to make sure that reasonable visitation time is met and the child feels safe and secure.
Remember, these suggestions are not meant to be legal advice.You should consult an attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation. If you need assistance with determining child visitation or custody, contact me at 317-569-0770 or www.hardenjacksonlaw.com.