For separated or divorced parents, summer scheduling can be quite stressful. Transitioning from school year schedules to summer schedules can be difficult for both parents and children. Following a few simple tips can ensure less conflict and a more enjoyable summer.
Plan Ahead: Review your parenting plan, separation agreement, and/or court order to determine what is outlined for the summer months. Do you need to notify your ex-spouse about vacation requests by a certain date? If so, make sure you do so, in writing. Will you have your children when you are working? If so, do you need to arrange camps and/or additional childcare? Are you planning to travel out of the country with your children? If so, are passports in order? Are parental consent forms needed? If your former spouse needs to provide permission for the children to travel out of the country, make sure you secure that in a timely manner. Don’t wait until the last minute.
Communication is Key: It is common courtesy to provide the non-traveling parent with an itinerary of your trip, even if your Agreement or Order does not provide for this. Will your children be able to communicate with their other parent while they are away? Make sure your ex-spouse has all necessary contact information. If your children will be away from their other parent for an extended time, schedule Face Time or Skype sessions, and send some pictures of the children to your ex-spouse. Provide your former spouse with information regarding camps and other activities you have enrolled your children in. Confirm that these activities do not interfere with the other parent’s scheduled time, and if they do, attempt to resolve the issues in advance. To lessen the stress, consider using email and a shared online calendar to keep track of summer schedules.
Avoid Competitions: Remember that regardless of your financial situation, your children just want to spend time with you. Just because your ex-spouse can afford a fancy beach vacation or a trip to Disney does not mean you have to do the same, especially if your finances do not support such a trip. There are many local activities that you can do with your children that will enable them to create memories to last a lifetime. Websites such as KidFriendlyDC.com (http://kidfriendlydc.com), our-kids.com (https://www.our-kids.com ), Fairfax Family Fun (http://www.fairfaxfamilyfun.com/calendar-of-events) and montgomerymag.com (http://www.montgomerymag.com ) provide tons of information on local activities happening through out the summer.
If you follow these tips you and your children should be able to enjoy a fun-filled, stress free summer. But if conflicts with your ex-spouse do arise, contact Hess Family Law to determine an appropriate course of action.