Hulse Law Firm’s Tips for Parenting Time During Summer Break
The long-awaited summer break is almost here, and while children and parents eagerly look forward the good weather and a new sense of freedom, that change in daily routine often adds anxiety to families of divorce. Parenting time schedules are not quite as predictable as they are during the school year. Summer break might mean long distance visitation and vacations. Children may be away from one of the parents or the primary home for a longer period of time than they are used to, and that can be stressful for them. Now is the time to make sure your plans for parenting time during summer break are firmed up and everyone is on board. This will go a long way to help your family head off any misunderstandings or unnecessary tensions. Summer should be a fun, secure, and special bonding time with your children. Early preparation can help ensure that happens!
Modification of Parenting Time Schedules
Some parenting plans are detailed about coordinating parenting time during school breaks and holidays. It’s a good thing to have the original plan drafted in such a way that there is a clear understanding and defined structure. However, it is also important to understand a variety of situations do arise, children’s social and recreational activities change, parents remarry, family dynamics change, and unexpected opportunities can pop up at any time. As children get older and family situations evolve, there are circumstances that would justify a change in a court ordered parenting time schedule, especially during summer breaks. In order to officially modify a schedule, a “Motion to Modify Parenting Time,” will need to be filed with the Court. Don’t assume that a schedule will change as your children get older, but be prepared if that does happen. Hulse Law Firm has a few ideas to help you work around any potential conflicts and prepare for a fun-filled summer.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your summer parenting time. No matter the distance between the two parents’ homes or the length of the visit, you will want to make an effort to plan around any summer school programs, sports, holidays, special events, and club activities, etc.
- It is important to plan the financial aspects of school breaks, as well. Summer camps or special activities, along with increased child care during school holidays will add expense. Whether it is during your parenting time or for an activity or event that you and your ex have agreed upon for the children, be prepared to budget appropriately.
- No one wants to be disappointed when plans are made, committed to, and then broken. If a parent has arranged vacation around agreed upon time-sharing dates, it is unfair to change those plans, especially if at the last moment. Without a valid and unavoidable reason, don’t accept that being done to you, and do not do it to the children’s other parent.
The Best Interests of the Children
- While you may already have summer parenting time specified in your parenting agreement, don’t get laser focused on arranging only what works best for you. Give the children an opportunity to offer ideas about what they might like to do. See what creative solutions you can come up with to make their vacation time as enjoyable as possible. Always make sure to set realistic expectations.
- Be as accommodating as possible. If your children participate in sports, try to fit their games and practices into the schedule. Also remember that no matter the age of the child, it may be stressful for them to be away from the primary home especially during long-distance time-sharing. Whether you are the parent in the primary or secondary home, encourage and prepare your children for a positive experience with the other parent.
- Stick to the planned length of stay, and be prepared to develop a unified strategy with your ex about how to handle any problems that arise.
- Make the children feel welcome when transitioning between households. They need to feel they have a space to call their own.
Keep Communications Open
- Establish a communication schedule for the children and their other parent while they are with you. This should include how and when the children will be in touch, as well as the methods used. Never prevent or interfere with children’s communications with the other parent.
- Don’t let the children manipulate you into allowing them to participate in activities the other parent wouldn’t agree to. It is essential to be united with your ex about the rules.
- Keep open, honest, and cordial communications with your ex so you can work together when adjustments need to be made. Be flexible for the sake of the children, but get the details about arrangements and changes in writing. You don’t want your ex to claim that you are being uncooperative or aren’t adhering to the signed parenting time agreement.
Experienced Family Law Attorneys
Because Colorado relies on the “best interests” standard, there is no “one fits all” parenting time schedule, and sometimes schedules may warrant deviations. The more detailed you are with your parenting plan and the better your communications are with your ex, the fewer problems you will run into. Hulse Law Firm offers sensible suggestions and strategies to help you and your children feel more secure and less anxious about all of the adjustments that inevitably occur during divorce and parenting time modifications. Feel free to reach out to us with questions or regarding any challenges you may be facing. We wish you a happy and healthy summer break with your children!