After a long school year, summer vacation is finally here! We can’t help but feel our kids’ excitement. For us parents, though, summer vacation means work, schedule changes and increased childcare. For divorced parents, that can require extra cooperation and flexibility from all parties. Sharing custody is never easy, but during the summer months, there are additional opportunities for issues to arise. Here are some tips on how to avoid conflicts, ensure smooth communication and guarantee a fun, relaxing summer for your kids.
- Treat your co-parent in a manner you would like to be treated. Good co-parenting relationships require good communication and reasonable flexibility on both sides. (Yes, I know it’s not always easy.) If you require some flexibility for your vacation plans with your children, ask your co-parent for more time or flexible dates. Although they are only required to abide by the terms of the Parenting Plan, your co-parent is more apt to agree if you ask in a pleasant way and show your willingness to cooperate.
- Put everything in writing. If your co-parenting agreement requires notification regarding your chosen vacation dates, make sure you abide by it, and put every communication in writing. To avoid any misunderstandings, make sure all communications are straight-forward and to the point.
- Decide together who is responsible for childcare, camps and extracurricular activities, and put it in writing. This includes clarifying who is handling payments and the transportation logistics. If there are multiple children attending different camps, a shared Google calendar might help avoid miscommunication.
- Maintain written records. (Do you sense a theme?) In the event that your co-parent becomes uncooperative and non-compliant to the Parenting Plan terms, it might be necessary to keep an ongoing record of events and communication. If the other parent does not comply with the Parenting Plan agreement, they can be held in contempt of court, which can lead to custody modifications. By keeping a written record as evidence, handling such cases is a simpler process.
- Teach by example. Keep your emotions intact and avoid hostile behavior towards the other parent, especially in front of your children. Not only is it stressful for the children, but your bad behavior could be used against you in the future and benefits no one. Remember, your children will model their own behavior on how their parents treat others, including one another.Summer is a glorious time to be a kid. With a little pre-planning, flexibility and open communication with your co-parent, you can ensure that your kids have a great time, and return to school refreshed and ready to start the new school year.
Contact us or call today to learn how Shaw Law can work with you to achieve the best outcome possible for you and your children.
Scott Shaw is founder and principle of Shaw Law Firm PC, founded in 1995 and dedicated solely to divorce, family law and child custody matters that must be addressed and decided in the state of Georgia. Shaw Law Firm serves the greater Metro Atlanta area, particularly the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Henry, Fayette, Coweta, Newton, Walton, Bartow and Douglas. Schedule a consultation today at 770-594-8309.