In just a matter of weeks, children throughout Northern Illinois will be done with school for the summertime. If you have children, you have probably seen signs of excitement. They may be ready to sleep in later than usual and to spend time outdoors with friends. You, the parent, may be eager for summer to arrive as well, but if you are divorced, the extended break may bring a few additional concerns. If you are currently subject to any type of shared parenting arrangement or custody order, it is time to begin making plans for the summer months ahead.
Know What Your Plan Says
The most important thing you need to do before summer break arrives is to review your existing parenting arrangements so that you are refreshed on your rights and responsibilities. Your parenting plan likely contains at least a bare-bones parenting time schedule. In some cases, the schedule may actually be quite detailed.
Many parenting plans offer the majority of the summer parenting time to the parent who gets less time with the children during the school year. This is especially common when that parent lives in another city or state. Other agreements maintain a schedule that is largely similar to the one used during the rest of the year with allowances for summer holidays, planned trips, or other special occasions.
Once you know what your parenting plan says, you can begin to make plans and to start negotiations with the other parent, if necessary. For example, if you want to take your children on a week-long vacation in July, doing so may require the other parent to give up a few days of scheduled parenting time. While this is not an unreasonable request, you should be prepared to give up some of your parenting time on another occasion to facilitate plans by the other parent.
Communication Is Key
If you and the other parent intentionally left your parenting arrangement rather vague regarding summer parenting time, you will need to communicate and work together. It is better to begin the planning process now rather than to wait until the last minute. Planning ahead allows you to know what will soon be happening, and it gives you the chance to keep your children informed as well. Your children cannot get excited about a planned event if they do not know about it.
Regardless of what has occurred between you and the other parent, do your best to remain flexible this summer—at least to a certain extent. Summer is the perfect setting for spontaneous day trips, baseball games, and picnics. Your children’s other parent may ask for an extra day to offer them an impromptu surprise, or you may have a similar idea of your own. Be willing to extend such a courtesy, as doing so can allow your children to get the most out of this summer’s break.
If you are struggling to come up with a summer parenting time schedule or your existing arrangement needs to be amended, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call 630-871-1002 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today.