Co-Parenting Tips: Planning for Summer Vacation

silhouette of father tossing daughter in front of ocean sunset, Photo by lauren lulu taylor on Unsplash

Summer holidays will look different once you have court orders dictating which days you have your child under your care. While previously you may have taken family vacations and sent your children to camp, now you will likely have to work with your co-parent to coordinate vacations with your children. This can be a daunting prospect, especially if you and your co-parent are not on the best of terms. However, this does not mean that you shouldn’t look forward to the summer break.

Below we have provided some tips to help co-parents plan for summer vacation. Keep reading to learn more.

Tip #1: Review Your Custody Agreement & Parenting Plan

Reviewing your custody agreement should be your first step in planning your summer vacation. Make sure you know your deadlines for designating your periods of possession. If you don’t understand what you are entitled to, seek experienced counsel to explain your order and answer your questions.

Tip #2: Start Planning Sooner Rather than Later

Most Texas orders with parenting plans require that the parents exchange their extended summer periods of possession of the children by dates in April. But you do not have to wait until the deadline to designate your extended summer periods of possession. The sooner you start planning, the better.

Tip #3: Figure Out Who Is Responsible for Paying for the Trip

Generally speaking, the parent taking the child on the trip will cover the associated costs. However, if you are planning to send your child to a sleep-away camp or on a school trip (such as a trip to visit potential colleges or a study abroad language program), parents may elect to split the costs. Before committing to the trip, make sure you review the cost of the trip and have an open discussion you’re your co-parent about how the trip will be paid for.

Trips, especially summer camps and international trips can be very expensive. Do not assume that your child’s other parent will automatically be on board with the trip or with paying for it. Instead, involve them in the decision-making process and make sure you are both on the same page regarding how you will share the costs of the trip.

Tip #4: Be Prepared to Compromise

Many parents do not want to give up the time they have with their children. If you are asking your co-parent to give up some of their time with the kids to accommodate the vacation you are planning, find ways to make up the time with them. For example, if they give up three days with the kids, work with them to schedule makeup days after you have returned.

If you are able, be flexible with your travel dates. Do not book flights, hotels, or trip activities until you have discussed the trip with your co-parent.

Tip #5: Involve the Kids in the Planning

Find out how your children want to spend the summer and find out what other obligations they have. For example, if they attend summer school, avoid scheduling a trip when they have tests scheduled. If they participate in summer sports clubs, avoid scheduling your trip when they have games or tournaments.

Children also frequently experience anxiety or feelings of guilt when they go on a trip with one parent and that trip causes them to sacrifice time with their other parent. Communicate with your children and look for ways to alleviate their concerns. Similarly, if they are going on a trip with their other parent, let them be excited about it, and make sure they know that they do not have to feel guilty for having fun with their other parent.

What to Do If You Need Help

Making summer plans for your children can be a fraught process. If you are dealing with a difficult co-parent or are struggling emotionally, do not be afraid to reach out for help. Working with a therapist or family counselor during difficult periods can provide you with the emotional support and guidance you need. This is particularly helpful if this is your family’s first summer post-divorce.

If you are in a dispute with your co-parent, or if they are not abiding by your custody agreement or parenting plan, you may find the help of an experienced attorney invaluable. Reach out to our law firm to discuss your case and find out what your legal options are. Camille Borg Law PLLC has helped countless families navigate child custody disputes and other related issues. We are prepared to help you, too.

Read the blog for more co-parenting tips for divorced spouses.

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