Summer should be a special time for families, but for divorced parents with minor children, it can also be a source of stress and conflict. Here are five tips to help make the most of your time with your children:
1. Understand Your Divorce Judgment: Summer parenting time is commonly included in many Michigan divorce judgments. For example, a typical summer parenting time schedule allows each parent to have a week or two of consecutive overnights with the minor child(ren), with the parents exchanging dates well in advance of the start of summer.
A well-written judgment should specifically outline the rules and guidelines for parenting time during the summer months. Review it carefully to ensure you understand your rights and obligations, and make note of any restrictions, such as a requirement to provide notice or obtain the other parent’s consent before taking your children out of state.
2. Plan Ahead: Summer schedules fill up quickly, so it’s important to plan your parenting time in advance. Many divorce judgments will provide a deadline in which the parents should exchange their proposed summer parenting time dates. Additionally, the judgment may also describe the process by which summer camps and extracurriculars are scheduled.
Consider scheduling vacations, camps and other activities with your children early to avoid conflicts with the other parent’s plans. It is especially essential to coordinate summer camps early as popular camps are often booked months in advance. Remember to communicate your plans with the other parent in a timely and respectful manner to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.
3. Be Flexible: While it’s important to plan ahead, it’s also important to be flexible. Unexpected events, such as changes in work schedules or illness, can arise and disrupt both parents’ plans. Be willing to work with the other parent to make reasonable adjustments to your plans to ensure your children have the best possible summer experience.
4. Don’t Involve the Children in Your Disputes: Summer parenting time should be a fun and positive time. Remember that children can be deeply affected by conflict between their parents, and involving them in adult matters can cause unnecessary stress and emotional harm.
If you have disputes with the other parent, it's important to handle them through appropriate legal channels or with the help of a mediator or therapist. Keep your children’s needs and emotional well-being in mind at all times, and work to create a positive and peaceful environment for them during their time off from school.
5. Seek Legal Help if Necessary: If you encounter conflicts or disputes with the other parent regarding summer parenting time, don’t hesitate to seek legal help. A family law attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options, and work with you to resolve disputes in a manner that is in the best interests of your children.
Warner’s family law attorneys regularly guide clients through summer parenting time disputes. Please contact Charlie Kadado or a member of Warner’s Family Law/Divorce Practice Group for help with this and other family law matters.