Summer break can complicate even carefully considered parenting plans. This is especially true this year as shifting COVID-19 restrictions can make advance scheduling difficult. So, what do you do if you have a summer or holiday disagreement that you and your ex-spouse can’t resolve? Here are three ideas to consider.
Create a more detailed parenting plan.
Sticking to your parenting plan is usually the best way to avoid scheduling issues. But that only works if your plan is detailed, and you and your ex communicate well. Sometimes, if there is too much gray area in a plan, or communication is strained, disputes will inevitably arise. If there is a court-ordered custody plan in place, and communication is lacking, it is best to adhere to the plan. Otherwise, you and your ex need to be able to work it out.
Also, since spontaneous plans and unforeseen changes are a natural part of life, it would be helpful for your co-parenting schedule to cover how to handle last-minute invitations or other interruptions to the schedule. A comprehensive plan should also cover issues such as vacations, including out of state trips, and sleepover camps.
Agree on shared costs upfront.
Summer can be more expensive for parents. You may have to pay for extra childcare during working hours as well as the cost of camps, organized sports, or other summer activities. It’s best to consider these costs upfront so you can figure out who will be paying for what, and how those expenses may be shared between the two of you.
Begin looking ahead to next summer.
If this summer has been difficult with your co-parent, do your best to learn from it so you can amend your parenting plan. For instance, if logistics were a nightmare, be sure to address this before next summer. Or, if you couldn’t agree on a vacation schedule, make a point to mark your calendars well before school is out next year.
You may not be able to change the other person, but you can change how you deal with your ex by setting healthy boundaries for yourself. If you and your co-parent can’t resolve a summer parenting issue, or if your ex isn’t following the parenting plan, you may want to consult an experienced family law attorney or a professional mediator for assistance. Please let us know if we can help with this. For more resources or to schedule a consultation, call our office at (253) 844-4412 or send us an email.