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Options for sharing custody time over the summer

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2021 | Family Law

It’s nearly that time of year again. School is winding down, spring break is over, and kids start longing for summer vacation.

What are your plans for summer vacation? Long days around the lake or pool? A vacation elsewhere, now that the pandemic is easing?

Whatever you plan to do, if you and your kids’ other parent have a child custody order, you will need to take the terms of your order into account.

Depending on what your child custody order says specifically, you may have a number of options for sharing summer vacation with your ex. If you haven’t developed your order yet, you should be aware that you can have different rules in place for the summer than for the rest of the year since you don’t have to worry about school.

Here are some options for summer vacation:

Swap time

If you usually trade weeks or weekends with your children’s other parent, you may wish to continue doing so during the summer. However, if one parent has primary custody during the school year, summer may be a good time to give the other parent more time with the children.

If you usually swap each week, you could continue that. Or, if you anticipate having a vacation that lasts longer than a week, you could begin swapping every other week for the summer season.

If one parent generally gets the children only on weekends, while the other parent gets weekdays, consider swapping that arrangement during the summer.

If you have already planned a summer trip, be sure to negotiate to have the kids during that period.

Split summer in half

Another option might be to divide the entire summer in half and assign one half to each parent. If you choose this option, be sure to give the non-residential parent plenty of opportunities to communicate with the kids by phone, Skype or FaceTime.

If your children’s summer will include camp, consider dividing the rest of the summer equally instead of counting camp time against one parent’s time with the kids.

Focus on vacation

You may wish to keep to your usual parenting schedule over the summer but allow each parent to take the kids on a vacation. You could plan around specific vacations or negotiate for a certain number of vacation days for each parent.

Whether you’re currently negotiating a child custody order or already have one in place, there’s a lot to think about. Be sure you understand your obligations under any current parenting plan. If you are unsure or don’t have a current parenting plan, work with a dedicated, compassionate attorney.