Many divorced parents today see the beauty and benefits in joint custody, and many are opting to go this route to ensure each parent has a significant say in their child’s upbringing. When you have joint custody, you’ll likely have parenting plan to follow from the courts; however, many parents find that extended vacations, such as summer break from school, means adjusting these schedules to better fit the parents’ and child’s needs. If you and your ex have joint custody, here are some great ways to make summer vacation work for everyone.
Consider your child’s schedule.
If your child is involved with summer activities, such as a sports team or a camp, you want to keep this in mind when determining your schedule. For instance, if your child has camp every Tuesday and Thursday, it’s not fair for the same parent to have the kid on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as this means the child isn’t spending time with their parent but instead at camp. Make sure both parents are handling the child’s schedule equally and that the child’s schedule doesn’t interfere with time away from one parent over the other.
Consider your own schedule.
Aside from your child’s schedule, you also need to think about your own. For instance, if you travel for work, then see if it’s possible to work your custody schedule out so you have your child when you’re in town and they’re with the other parent while you travel. In addition, if you have different work schedules (for instance, you work third shift while your ex works a traditional 9-5), then be sure to factor this in when determining the summer schedule. It’s not fair for one parent’s time to be given if they cannot actually spend time with the child.
Try finding consistencies.
No child wants to bounce back and forth between their parents’ houses every day and having a schedule that’s confusing will make it hard for your child to have plans. Instead, try to find a consistency that works for everyone involved. For instance, maybe during the summer months you opt for an every other week schedule, which means the child is with one parent for a whole week, the other the next, and so on. This way, both the parents and child know where the child will be and when, which makes it less hectic for your child and easier for parents to plan their own schedule.
Take vacations into account.
Summer is often a popular time to take family vacations, so be sure to talk to your ex if you plan to take a vacation with your child. Knowing this information ahead of time will ensure you each have the opportunity to take a vacation with your child as well as ensure each parent is getting equal time. Also, be sure your vacations are within reason. For instance, your ex will likely have a problem if you wanted to take the child on a vacation for the entire summer.
Make it work logistically.
Obviously, logistics will play a huge role in how your summer schedule works with joint custody. For instance, if you and your ex live near each other, it won’t be hard to split time in an equal way. However, if you live in another state, then you’ll want the schedule to make sense so you’re not spending all your time with your child in the car.
The best way to make a summer joint custody arrangement that works is to communicate with your ex. If that doesn’t seem to help, there’s always the possibility of seeking mediation or going back to court to let a third-party settle your dispute.