Once school is out and summertime rolls around, a whole new set of issues and areas of conflict can arise between separated parents. Separated parents need to agree upon a schedule of activities, vacations, and child care for their children. If necessary, courts can resolve these issues if agreements cannot be reached. But it is always better for the parents and the children if they can resolve these custody and support issues with the help of a lawyer and without court intervention.
Together, parents must decide if the children will go to camp or be enrolled in some other summer program. They must decide how the costs of these camps/programs will be shared between them. If there is a support order in effect parents need to review it to see if it addresses them summertime costs of daycare or camp. If there is no support order in effect or the order does not address the issue, the general rule is that these agreed upon costs are divided between the parties in proportion to each party’s income.
If one parent typically has custody of the children for most or all of the summer, the other parent will need to be informed of the children’s schedule during the summer.
Vacations and holidays
Vacations and summer holidays need to be discussed and a schedule needs to be set. Typically, courts order that each parent receives two non-consecutive weeks of vacation with the children in the summer. But parents may prefer longer vacation periods or less summer vacation, and more vacation time throughout the school year instead. So long as agreed upon by both parents, the vacation schedule can be tailored to fit the needs of each family.
Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day need to be addressed by the parents. They must decide if these holidays extend over a weekend (or for a few days in the case of July 4th) or just for the day itself. Courts will often alternate these holidays from year to year. But if parents prefer, they could agree that the same parent gets the same holiday every year. Parents should come to an understanding as to how these holidays will be divided well in advance of the holiday to avoid conflict on the day of the holiday.
With regard to vacations, the other parent needs to know where the children will be going, with whom they will be staying and how to contact the children while they are on vacation. If there is travel involved, flight information and travel itineraries should be exchanged. Parents need to select their weeks of vacation in advance of the summer and should provide notice to the other parent so that scheduling conflicts do not occur. Also, when scheduling vacations and travel, parents should consider the start time of school in the fall, to make sure the children have time to prepare for school.
Summer school work and summer practices for sports/activities
Summer reading and other summer school work needs to be completed and parents must work together to make sure that these assignments are completed. If the children need to participate in summer practices for fall sports or activities, parents must consider this when scheduling vacations and other summertime programs.