Co-parenting your children following a divorce, or during the divorce process, can be tricky and difficult. However, there are tips and tricks to better communicating and cooperating with your former or soon to be former spouse. Ultimately, as a parent, your desire is to spend time with your children and to ensure that they are healthy and happy.
Summer Vacation Strategies
During the summer vacation time, when kids are out of school, the schedule can change drastically from the standard child custody arrangements set forth during the school year. For example, many courts have set "summer schedules" that are generally used that differ significantly from the arrangement used during the school year. A parent who typically only sees his or her children on the weekends may now find that he or she has two weeks at a time during the summer.
Divorced parents should take certain steps to avoid the potential of conflict over this differing summer schedule.
The first, is to plan ahead. If you already know what the summer custody and visitation schedule will be, plan for that. Plan trips during that time and attempt never to impact the other parent's scheduled time. This will greatly reduce conflict. It will also communicate to the other parent that you respect his or her time with the children and in most cases, this type of respect is shown back in kind.
Talk to Your Spouse/Former Spouse
Sometimes, plans need to change. Maybe your work schedule makes it pointless to have time with the children on certain days, and those days could be better spent with the other parent. Then you could negotiate to get equal time on other days that hopefully mutually benefit both parents and the children.
Another situation that could arise is a special vacation that would impact another parent's time. Only you know how well this will go over, but ultimately, a discussion and request of the other parent could easily fix any problems. Go into it knowing that the other parent likely has a right to say no, and never act as though you are entitled to a change. A simple request, rather than a demand, is much more likely to succeed.
Many former spouses perfectly understand and are willing to change the schedule so long as they get the time back later. Negotiations are generally permitted by Missouri courts. Speak with your attorney about changes and whether the court requires notification of changes in custody arrangements or visitation schedules, even temporary ones.
Talk to the Children
Children often know about plans, desires, or wishes concerning their own vacation. Yes, you are the parent, and you are in charge, but especially as children get older, they may wish to travel with friends, stay home for certain events, or participate in summer activities.
You will better ensure your children's happiness and well-being by discussing summer vacation with them.
Consult an Experienced Missouri Family Law Attorney
Planning for summer vacation while co-parenting is an important part of preventing conflict, and ensuring your children's happiness. Joshua Wilson is an experienced family law attorney who can help you develop the best plan possible for handling your divorce or post-divorce summer life.