The last year has been a rough one for school age children and for their parents as well. With the roll out of several Covid vaccines, however, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Kids and parents alike are beginning to think ahead to summer vacation and the possibility of life returning to some semblance of normal. If you are a divorced parent, that means navigating possession and access of your children during summer vacation with your former spouse. Dallas custody lawyer Rita M. Boyd offers some tips on how to prepare for summer vacation as a divorced parent and what to do if you encounter problems.
Summer Vacation Planning Tips
- Make sure you are clear on the terms of your Parenting Plan. When you went through the divorce process you submitted a Parenting Plan to the court for approval. Once accepted by the court, the terms of that plan become orders of the court. Most Parenting Plans include a roadmap for how possession and access of the children is to be handled during summer vacation. Before you do anything else, make sure you are clear on the term of that plan.
- Start planning now. Do not wait until a week before school is out. Reach out to your former spouse now to discuss your summer plans. With the Covid-19 pandemic still posing a threat in the U.S., travel plans may be especially complicated this year, making early planning and coordination even more vital.
- Allow older children to be involved. If your children are older, talk to them about how they want to handle summer vacation. While the terms of your Parenting Plan may govern summer vacation, it is always best to remain flexible if your children want to deviate some from the written plan.
- Communicate in writing. Be sure to communicate with your former spouse in writing about your summer vacation schedules and plans. Not only will this help you both to communicate more effectively, but it also provides written proof of your efforts to successfully co-parent should a dispute arise. It can also serve as proof of an agreement between you and your former spouse to alter the terms of the Parenting Plan.
- Remain positive. Whether this is the first year or the tenth year that you have spent time without your children over the summer, it can be an adjustment to suddenly find yourself in an empty house for days at a time. Stay positive and consider the time “me time.” Schedule your own vacation or staycation or just enjoy the peace and quiet.
What to Do If a Dispute Arises
Despite your best efforts to plan ahead and work with your former spouse, a dispute may arise over parenting time during summer vacation. In fact, custody disputes relating to summer vacation are among the most common. One parent may plan a trip during the other parent’s possession and access time. Conversely, a parent who is supposed to spend extended time with the children during the summer may refuse to do so because he/she cannot afford child care. Regardless of the reason for the dispute, the minute you suspect that a custody dispute is looming, consult with an experienced custody lawyer. Doing so may prevent the dispute from turning into contentious litigation.
Contact a Dallas Custody Lawyer
If you have additional questions or concerns about how to prepare for summer vacation as a divorce parent, or if you are concerned about a potential custody dispute relating to summer vacation, contact an experienced Dallas custody lawyer at Rita M. Boyd, P.C. to discuss your legal rights and options by calling 972-380-8000 to schedule your appointment today.