Like most North Carolina parents, you're likely gearing up for summertime with your kids. Part of you might be wondering where time has gone because the school year seemed to fly by so quickly. The other part might be a bit more stressed than usual, especially if this happens to be the first summer break since your divorce. You have a court order in place, and your kids have so far been adjusting well to their new lifestyle.
Your ex tends to be combative, however, and you really don't want post-divorce problems messing up your summer vacation. Thinking ahead, knowing your rights and keeping contact information for your support resources with you at all times can help you overcome most problems as they arise. There are several other practical steps you can take to keep summertime post-divorce stress levels to a minimum.
Be willing to cooperate and compromise
While you may no longer wish to be in a marriage to your children's other parent, you will continue to interact with this person, at least until your kids reach adult age. The following tips can help you avoid snags in your summertime plans, so you and your children can focus on building new, happy memories together:
- Put everything in writing: It's a good idea to execute a summer calendar, placing specific summertime details in writing, then providing copies to all parties, including your kids, so that everyone can keep their schedules in a conspicuous location. This helps prevent negative surprises or confusion about who is doing what and when, throughout the summer.
- Incorporate summer and holiday plans into your court order: If you haven't yet finalized your divorce, you can save yourself a lot of stress by including instructions for summer break and holidays into your co-parenting agreement. This also increases the chances of things turning out the way you plan because both parents have a legal obligation to adhere to the terms of the agreement.
- When exact details are unknown: You may attend graduations, birthday parties or other social events without knowing exact dates ahead of time. This is where a need for cooperation and clear communication comes into play. If you and your ex can agree to give each other a "heads up" as soon as possible and agree to be flexible with your schedules, you may be able to avoid major problems.
If your kids witness their parents working together to avoid stress and set the tone for an enjoyable summer, and if both you and your spouse agree to provide them ample time with both parents, they will likely fare as best they can under the circumstances. It's never a good idea to argue about divorce-related matters in front of your kids, so if a problem does arise, you can take steps behind the scenes to resolve it.