Finding a way to share custody peacefully with your ex can take a lot of work. You likely both want to spend as much time with the children as possible. Making time for both parents usually means you have to compromise to find solutions that work for co-parenting.
Even if you currently have a system that has worked well throughout the school year, the approaching summer could cause a host of complications. Especially if you currently only have a temporary custody order and are in the process of negotiating or strategizing for your parenting plan, considering the three major summer vacation issues below can help you prevent them from making your vacation stressful.
- How far is too far to travel?
The age of your children, the international connections of each parent and their ties to your local community will all contribute to how far one parent can reasonably travel with the children. A parent with dual citizenship in two countries might pose a risk of international kidnapping. On the other hand, they might want to travel home to spend time with their family.
You have to look carefully at your circumstances and concerns to decide what is a reasonable restriction on how far parents can travel with the children without going to the courts for approval. Some families limit travel to within the state, others want their ex to stay in the country. Still others don’t put a geographic limit on travel but require constant communication and limit how long a trip could last.
- How do you divide the vacation time?
Both parents would likely enjoy an actual vacation with the kids, which might include camping, going to an amusement park or going to the beach. At the same time, both parents likely still have work obligations they need to meet.
The division of parenting time that you use during the school year may not work over the summer if both parents have daytime work obligations. Summer could be an opportunity for one parent to have significant time with the children if they have a very busy job or live too far away for frequent visitation during the school year.
- What rules do your children have to follow during the summer?
Maintaining consistent expectations is a big part of successful parenting. Especially for teenagers and tweens, a little more freedom during the summer can give them something to look forward to during stressful parts of the school year.
Still, you need to have certain rules and expectations in place for their behavior over the summer. Having rules for the children in your parenting plan makes it easier to consistently enforce them at both houses. Including how you intend to adjust them over summer vacation and other school breaks will make co-parenting easier for you and meeting expectations easier for your children.
By preemptively discussing the issues that most frequently cause disagreements between co-parents as you negotiate your custody arrangements, the two of you can set yourselves up for success.