Sharing time with your child isn’t easy, whether you and your co-parent get along or not. During the summer months, kids are often out of school, parents plan vacations, and friends and family members throw weekend barbeques and pool parties. Summertime can be a great time to bond with your kids and make memories, but those memories depend largely on whether or not you can work out a feasible parenting plan with your ex. Whether you share custody or either you or your ex has visitation rights, it’s important to communicate any potential changes before summer hits.
Find out how you can make co-parenting a breeze this summer by implementing these simple tips:
1. Plan Ahead
One of the best things you can do to ensure you get the most out of your schedule this summer is to sit down with your co-parent and develop a plan. Sure, you have a permanent child custody plan, but sometimes you might need to make a few adjustments and modifications to make that plan work for you. For example, you might have your kids during the week while your ex takes them on the weekends. But, what happens if one of you has a two-week vacation with the kids coming up? Maybe you could adjust your days accordingly so that you have an extra weekend with the kids before and after their big trip.
You might want to meet on neutral ground to go over the entire summer, just to decrease the chances of any big arguments. Ideally, you’ll be able to discuss your children’s summer plans, including any camps, vacations, daycares, or other significant events. Be open, flexible, and understanding, and hopefully your ex will extend the same courtesy. If you aren’t able to do this on your own, you might consider making a plan over email, or discussing your options with your lawyer.
Even after you’ve created a concrete plan for your summer schedules, it’s still important to communicate with your co-parent. If you are going to be late for a pick-up, let them know. If you are going out of town, tell your ex how you can be reached in an emergency and let them know when they can expect to hear from your kids. The more open you are with communication, the easier it should be to work together this summer, and thereafter, as successful co-parents.
3. Don’t Forget the Kids!
It might be easy to focus solely on your own scheduling needs and wants this summer, but try to remember that your kids likely have a few things they’d like to do too. This might not be as true for younger children, but older kids and teenagers likely have birthday party plans, practices and games to attend, and maybe even a desire to go to summer camp. Try to do your part to prioritize their wishes rather than focusing too heavily on getting the most of your time with them, and let them have a little room to do what they wish, too.
Do you need help with your child custody or visitation plan? Contact Patton & Pittman Attorneys to ask for a free consultation with our Clarksville family attorneys.