Summertime Vacation Etiquette for Divorced Spouses

Sharing custody of your children with your ex-spouse can become complicated during the summertime. During the school year, you and your spouse may share a very stringent and simple schedule. However, when it comes to the summer months, schedules can get mixed up, and a week-to-week or day-to-day schedule may not be practical. In this post, we’ll go over a few tips to keep summertime plans smooth for divorced parents.

6 Tips for Summertime Co-Parenting Etiquette

1. Communicate With Your Children

As your children grow older, involving them in the planning process can be a great way to strengthen your relationship with them and ensure that they're excited for the upcoming summer. By asking your children what they would like to do, you're making them feel heard and valued, while also giving them an opportunity to express their interests. Be sure to also keep them in the loop as to who will be with them on the specific outings, when they’ll be spending time with your co-parent, and additional details to avoid any unexpected surprises.

2. Share Summer Plans

When it comes to co-parenting with your ex-spouse, communication is key. Providing a fully detailed itinerary of your summer plans can be extremely helpful in keeping everyone on the same page. This document should cover all the important details such as the various locations you will be traveling to, the mode of transportation, and the drop-off and pick-up times for your children. It's crucial that you stick to these timings, especially if your ex-spouse will be collecting the children from a specific location.

Not only will this help prevent any confusion or misunderstandings, but it will also show that you are committed to working together for the well-being of your children. Also, make sure to discuss your summer plans with your ex-spouse to ensure that you are both aware of each other's schedules and locations in case of emergency.

3. Discuss Summer Plan Expenses

Summer extracurricular activities and vacations can be an excellent way for children to learn new skills, make friends, and stay active during their time off from school. However, with so many programs available, the costs can add up quickly, leaving some families struggling to keep up. That's why it's important for parents to work together to establish a budget and decide who will pay for what. By coming to a mutual agreement, both parents can ensure that their children have the support they need to pursue their interests.

For example, one parent could offer to pay for a child's summer camp while the other covers the costs of a sports program or music lessons. Working together in this way helps to ensure that everyone is supported.

Examples of summer plan expenses to discuss can include:

  • Road trips
  • Vacations
  • Summer classes
  • Sports
  • Camps
  • Hotels
  • Plane tickets
  • Cruise tickets

4. Create Routines

Summer break can be a fun and liberating experience for children. However, an excess of freedom can sometimes lead to unhealthy habits, such as disordered bedtimes and eating times. One way to avoid this is by establishing a routine that is mirrored in both households. By doing so, children will gain valuable self-regulation skills, setting a foundation for good mental health in the future.

It's worth noting that establishing some rules and guidelines around activities is an excellent way to create a sense of security while still allowing children to enjoy the benefits of taking a break from classes. Maintaining a balance between freedom and structure is key to ensuring that your child's summer break is a memorable and healthy one.

Routines to have in both households may include:

  • Bedtimes and wakeup times
  • Morning and night routines
  • Chores
  • Curfew
  • Mealtimes
  • Screentime

5. Review Your Custody Schedule

Custody schedules can be complex and require a great deal of planning, especially during the summer months. Regardless of whether you follow the regular schedule or plan a customized one, it's important to go over it before summer begins. With all the summer camps, trips, and activities, it's easy for things to get overlooked.

That's why it's critical to be mindful of any changes and special circumstances, such as extended holiday trips, birthday parties, family gatherings, etc. By planning ahead and staying flexible, co-parenting can be handled easier this summer and create an environment where both parents and children can have fun. It is also important to note that certain custody schedules will need to be modified in writing and approved by both you and your ex-spouse to be sure no party is taken advantage of.

6. Work With an Attorney

Custody agreements can make navigating summer planning challenging. In this case, your plans may require a bit more thought and discussion with a legal professional. An experienced attorney can provide valuable guidance in navigating the terms of the agreement and ensuring that all planned activities comply with the custody agreement. By seeking the advice of an attorney, parents can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing their child's summer plans are legally sound, minimizing the risk of any potential conflicts or disputes.

Our attorneys have over 30 years of experience and you can rest assured that we understand how to tackle summertime custody disputes. Whether your spouse won't give you the vacation time you need, or if you need to change the summertime custody schedule, our family lawyers at Cutter & Lax Attorneys at Law can help you negotiate.

Call the firm today at (818) 839-2533 to get the assistance that you need!