With the changing of the seasons and school being out of session, summer can provide an excellent opportunity for parents to spend more time with their children. With the three month span of time, parents can plan outings and vacations with their children, creating memories and bring them closer to one another.
For parents of divorce, it can be difficult to sort through the ins and outs of social awkwardness in attempting to address with one another the possibility of having vacations and outings with the children.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that as co-parents, you both do not wish the negative aspects of the situation on your children. Neither actively is hoping they experience the negative consequences of the custody issues that may arise. Neither wants them to deal with the stress or social stigma of their situation.
While children of divorce may have issues establishing a daily routine when alternating between households, summer can create an unparalleled level of inconsistency to the routine of children, that it can cause tension among co-parents.
Daily activities that require routine for children to follow, like brushing one’s teeth, bathing, or eating meals, typically have a set schedule, and during the summer, that can be thrown off by the excitement of whatever fun activity may be occurring or whatever exotic setting they may have been taken to.
Communication and conflict
Much of that schedule is thought of from a legal perspective, which dictates visitation for the noncustodial parent. Summer can often find itself being addressed separately from that of the school year.
The goal for communication and working together is ideal for co-parents, and a parenting plan can provide the clarification that aid in the avoidance of conflict. In interacting with one another for the betterment of the children, it can provide a better scope of what to expect out of one’s week. The planning and preparation of receiving and maintaining the lives of the children need to factor into the expectations of the time spent with them.
In one’s preparation, there can at least, be a strategy dictated by the already-constructed parenting plans. They can spell out which parent picks their vacation first during each year, depending on whether it is an even or odd year. There also is a date that the vacation needs to be selected by, before it is forfeited.
However, when a lack of trust dictates the conversation of one parent’s merits as a role model, it cause the need for the custodial parent to feel like the noncustodial parent needs to prove that they can handle taking care of the children. In cases where the noncustodial parent has limited access to the children, the noncustodial parent may need to display their skill as a parent, in order to improve their case.
Keeping the children in check also may be a key in keeping the peace among the co-parents. Courts are much more willing to work with a noncustodial parent with limited access if they have shown improvement in the aspects of themselves that previously prevented the courts from allowing them access to their children.
Vacation selection also does not take precedence over holiday visitation. Birthdays, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, and more all typically matter more than the scheduling of a vacation during the summer.
With school being out of session, it also is important to remember that many children have continued education programs going on that may interfere with any plans. Many of these require time commitments, such as summer reading programs, driver’s education, and summer school that may put a damper on that camping trip that you may have planned.
Don’t give up
Even with all of the possibilities for interruptions, schedule conflicts, and custody issues, it is important to never stop trying. Even when the children may be older and not as into it as they were when they were younger, it is just as important to make the times that you have with them special.
It can be equally important to balance the parenting aspect with the notion of doing something special during the time you have with them. Active parents cannot fall into the “Disneyland parenting” category, since they already are an engaging presence in their children’s lives.
If you are engaged and are able to communicate with your co-parent, regarding the times you wish to do something special with your children during summer vacation, it can make this time easier. It also gives you the opportunity to focus on having the best time possible with them.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.