The last weeks of the school year get to be a grind. Kids are understandably eager for summer and a long break from homework. Teachers too could use the time off to relax and recharge.
But what about you as a parent? With Memorial Day only a little over a month away, it's high time to get your summer plans in place with your kids -especially if you are separated or divorced from the other parent.
In this post, we will discuss key points to think about as you do that.
What your custody agreement calls for
Of course, a lot depends on what your custody schedule calls for. When you and the other parent split up, it's important to be proactive in creating a schedule that fits your family's unique circumstances. We discussed that in our February 9 post on custody plans.
Not that this is always easy to do. On an emotional level, you may still be feeling a bit like a deer in the headlights. But you don't want to stay stuck in that moment. And the practical guidance of a skilled attorney can help you tackle the practical challenges of determining who gets the kids at which times.
These custody determinations can be crafted into a separation agreement and will be a critical part of the final divorce order made by the court. Even if you weren't married, the court will still need to sign off on a coparenting plan for minor children.
That is why, if you are still working out your parenting plan, it is critical to envision how you and your ex will handle summer vacations. The same is true of holidays generally, as well as other school breaks.
To be sure, it is possible that your former partner will have a different view on who should have the kids when school isn't in session. As we noted in our March 30 post on successful coparenting, however, being creative and able to compromise can go along a way in helping you work out these differences.
Tips for trips and other summer activities
Let's look ahead then to the summer and the many possibilities it holds for enjoyable experiences with your kids.
If you have a parenting plan in place, there will most likely already be basics of the vacation schedule included in that plan. For example, you may have to get the other parent notice of when you would like to take your vacation with the kids. There may also be a limit of how many days you can be gone.
Understandably, out-of-state travel must be communicated clearly to the other parent when there is shared custody. And if it's an international trip, written permission by other parent, formalized by a notary, is required.
If you don't have a parenting plan in place yet, and are about to begin the process, an experienced attorney can help you understand your legal options. Once you have a better sense of what is and isn't possible, you can make the decisions you need to make now in order to enjoy the summer - both this year and in the years to come.