Written by Jonathan Breeden
The summer is just like the rest of the year concerning child custody with your ex. However, you can successfully navigate the vacation season with some planning, flexibility, and cooperation.
Child custody issues don’t end with a court order. When the two of you live and parent separately, issues can come up that neither of you anticipated. Ideally, you should be able to work out your differences. If you can’t, a North Carolina family lawyer can help.
Here are some ways to make custody in the summer a little easier.
The overall time your child spends with you and your ex will be part of the agreement. Vacations are a sub-set of that time. There are so many variables – your child’s school schedule, work demands, your health, and that of your child – you can be precise with only so many details. But the agreement is the place to set expectations and let both parties know of theirs. It’s a road map for parents to follow, not a list of rules cut in stone.
Some of us are planners. Others are spur-of-the-moment travelers. You may plan vacation months in advance, or you’re flexible about where you want to go and on the hunt for last-minute bargains.
No matter your approach, where you go and how you get there isn’t nearly as important as when, so your ex can plan around your vacation. Keep your ex in the loop, and the lines of communication open when it comes to when you’re planning a trip and any logistical concerns.
Like all other important issues involving your child, you need open and direct communication if you share custody. You should be honest about your wants while not needlessly creating additional stress in your relationship. Discuss your vacation plans as far in advance as possible, so if there are any conflicts, you can work them out well before your vacation starts.
You maintain a relationship with your ex because of your child. Like any other relationship, there needs to be some give and take by both sides. If one of you wants more time with the child for a vacation, you could trade time during a holiday or two. If one of you can’t take a vacation in the summer for financial or work reasons, your child may be a lot happier spending extra vacation time with the other.
Parenting is about what’s in your child’s best interests. It’s not keeping a score on what your child does or doesn’t do with you or your ex or whether the time outlined in your custody agreement is off by a few days or a week.
Summer is often the time for family get-togethers. A parent may take their child for extended visits at the homes of family members, or there may be a group camping trip or a stay at the beach in a rented house. It can be an excellent time for your child to reconnect with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who may have faded into the distance during a divorce or custody dispute.
But extended family vacations could be a problem that’s worthy of you speaking up. You may have concerns about a family member who’s a substance abuser. Your ex’s parents or siblings may have very negative feelings about you. You may need to set ground rules about your child’s exposure to someone with addiction problems. Anyone with a negative attitude toward you needs to keep it to themselves when your child is around.
A vacation should be a time to get away from everyday life, relax, experience new things, and have fun. This can all be accomplished when both parents work with each other and keep their child’s best interests at heart. To help make this a reality, work out a child custody agreement. For help with your child custody agreement, speak with the attorneys at the Breeden Law Office today.