Making Summer Child Custody Arrangements When School Is Out

Little boy holding father's hand

Summer vacation can present unique challenges for divorced or separated parents regarding child custody arrangements. Before school is out of session and children have more free time, it’s important to plan and create a clear, fair schedule that meets the needs of both parents and the children.

If you’re co-parenting and need to make summer child custody arrangements, consider the following tips.

Review Your Existing Custody Agreement

The first step in making summer custody arrangements is to review your existing custody agreement or court order. Many agreements already include provisions for summer vacation, such as alternating weeks or specific dates for each parent. If your agreement addresses summer custody, use it as a starting point for your planning. If your agreement doesn’t cover summer vacation, or if you need to make changes, keep the following considerations in mind:

  • Your children’s ages and individual needs
  • Each parent’s work schedule and availability
  • Family traditions and planned events, such as vacations or reunions
  • The distance between the parents’ homes
  • The children’s summer activities and commitments

By considering these factors, you can create a summer schedule that works well for everyone involved.

Communicate with the Other Parent

Effective communication with your co-parent is essential when making summer custody arrangements. Start the conversation early to ensure that both parents have enough time to plan and make necessary adjustments to their schedules. When communicating with the other parent:

  • Be respectful and keep the focus on your children’s needs
  • Be willing to compromise and consider the other parent’s perspective
  • Put your agreements in writing to avoid misunderstandings
  • If communication is difficult, consider using a co-parenting app or mediator to help facilitate the conversation

Remember, the goal is to create a summer schedule that allows your children to maintain meaningful relationships with both parents while enjoying their break from school.

Be Flexible and Adaptable

While having a clear summer custody schedule is important, it’s also essential to be flexible and adaptable if possible. Unexpected events—for example, illnesses, work emergencies, or changes in the children’s activities—may require adjustments to the schedule. Be open to making changes when necessary, and work with the other parent to find solutions that minimize disruption for your children.

Consider Your Children’s Input

As your children grow older, it’s important to consider their input when making summer custody arrangements. While the final decision should rest with the parents, giving your children a voice in the process can help them feel more secure and validated. Ask your children about their summer plans, interests, and preferences, and try to incorporate their feedback into the schedule when possible. However, be careful not to put too much responsibility on your children or make them feel like they have to choose between their parents.

Plan for Summer Expenses

Summer activities like camps, sports programs, and vacations can add up quickly. As part of your summer custody planning, discuss how these expenses will be shared between the parents. Consider:

  • Reviewing your existing agreement or court order to see if it addresses summer expenses
  • Discussing how decisions about summer activities will be made and how costs will be shared
  • Creating a budget for summer activities and determining each parent’s contribution

By addressing summer expenses upfront, you can avoid conflicts and ensure that your children have access to enriching experiences during their break from school.

Seek Legal Guidance When in Doubt

If you and your co-parent are unable to reach an agreement on summer custody arrangements, or if you have concerns about your rights or your children’s well-being, don’t hesitate to seek legal guidance. An experienced family law attorney can help you:

  • Understand your legal rights and obligations
  • Negotiate with the other parent to reach a fair agreement
  • Modify an existing custody order to suit your family’s needs better
  • Represent your interests in court if necessary

Contact Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC Today

If you need assistance with summer child custody arrangements in Fairfax or elsewhere in Northern Virginia, contact Surovell, Isaacs & Levy PLC today to schedule a consultation. Our knowledgeable attorneys will listen to your concerns, assess your unique situation, and provide the personalized guidance you need to create a summer custody plan that works for your family.

Posted in: Child Custody