Child Custody

Sun, Fun, And Shared Time: Summer Visitation Tips For Parents

Last updated on April 29, 2024

Summer is almost here, and with it comes plenty of parental anxiety: vacations, camps and sleepovers, oh my! When parents are divorced or separated, changing schedules during school breaks can be a minefield of schedule changes, accommodation requests and angry emails. Of course, things could go off without a hitch, but the reality is that they seldom do. Then what?

In this article, we suggest a few strategies to help you make the most of your summer with your co-parent while doing what’s best for your children. Enjoy a chill summer by following these key steps. Work with your co-parent to ensure that your children enjoy a memorable summer!

Effective Co-parenting During Summer BreakCo-parenting during the summer break can be a challenge, even for parents who otherwise get along well. It requires some effort to keep the lines of communication open and flowing. Here are some tips to help you communicate effectively and make co-parenting this summer more successful.

  • Establish a communication plan. Be clear upfront about how and when you will communicate any schedule changes. Use a shared calendar, weekly check-ins, or dedicated communication platform to ensure that those arrangements are followed and there isn’t miscommunication. Since the schedule is less consistent in the summer, both parents benefit from a plan to ensure they are both apprised of information as it occurs.
  • Be transparent. Think ahead and communicate your goals, commitments, and worries. To come to an understanding of how to address the concerns of the other side, we need to be clear about our intentions and the reasoning behind them.
  • Record communication: List any agreements or modifications to a parenting plan in chronological order. This reduces the likelihood of conflict and provides a point of reference in the event that it does.

Dealing With Conflicts And Resolving DisagreementsConflict is a natural occurrence, especially when it comes to scheduling changes requested by children during summer break. It is important to try to manage the conflict and find a solution for these changes. Below are ways to manage conflicts and come to a resolution.

  • Keep calm and respectful
  • Use appropriate language and tone
  • Seek first to understand, not to be understood
  • Resolve to put the child’s needs first
  • Try to be part of the solution, not the problem
  • Implement a give-and-take approach
  • Remain fair and flexible
  • Seek third party assistance, if necessary

Your chances of successfully managing the conflict will increase if you view the situation through the lens of achieving a shared objective, rather than as adversaries attempting to assert your rights. If you go into the situation adopting this mindset, everyone, especially your children, will be better for it.

Factors To Consider When Planning For Summer Break Visitation ChangesScheduling summer break visitation requires a number of considerations to ensure a fair and balanced schedule that supports the best interests of the child. When planning your summer visitation schedule with the other parent, here are some key considerations to think about:

  1. Age of the child and child’s interests: All children are different, and younger children might need more frequent transitions, while older children can handle longer transitions. Older children might also have a strong preference about where they want to spend their vacation, and this should be considered. They might also have extracurricular activities, such as sports or camps, that they want to attend.
  2. Existing agreements or court orders: All existing agreements and court orders regarding child visitation should be reviewed to make sure that any changes to the schedule are in line with legal requirements. Complying with these agreements and orders is a must to avoid legal problems.
  3. Vacation plans and commitments: Inform your ex-partner about your vacation plans and commitments as soon as possible so as not to disrupt the child’s schedule. Work together and coordinate visits so that the child gets quality time with each parent without interruptions.

Creating A Summer Visitation Schedule That WorksComing up with a summer visitation schedule that works for both parents takes some thought and consideration. To help you get started, here are some tips.

  • Cooperate and compromise: Cooperate with the other parent to work out a schedule for visitation that meets everyone’s needs, including the child’s. Be willing to compromise. Think about what’s in the child’s best interest.
  • Account for the child’s activities: For scheduling the visitation period, consider the child’s planned summer activities, such as camp or sports, and schedule around them so that he or she does not miss out.
  • Plan ahead: If possible, plan the visitation schedule several months in advance so that you can coordinate with the other parent and avoid last-minute conflicts. The visitation schedule will likely include vacations, holidays and other commitments. If possible, think through vacation plans, family gatherings or other events that will affect the schedule and avoid conflicts by planning ahead. Many conflicts result from last-minute changes in plans or schedules. Often, this is because the other parent is unwilling to be flexible and accept last-minute revisions of the visitation schedule when it was not planned in advance and they were not told about the changes.
  • Be Flexible: Realize that things will not always go as initially planned. If something unexpected happens or comes up, parents should be willing to alter the plans and go with the flow. Children are resilient, and having a bit of flexibility helps them stay relaxed and manage the changing summer plans.

Legal Considerations And DocumentationChanges in visitation schedules for children (including holidays and vacations) require legal stamps and supporting documents. Here’s what you need to know and how to do it right.

  • Review previous arrangements or court orders: If you already have a visitation agreement with your child’s other parent or a court order regarding custody or visitation, review this carefully before changing anything. Your proposed changes must comply with any existing agreement or order to avoid violating them.
  • If required, consult a family law attorney: Consult a family law lawyer if you are not sure about the legal ramifications of the proposed changes in a visitation schedule.
  • Write it down: Keep track of changes to the visitation schedule by writing them down. Whether it’s through emails, text messages or a shared document, writing helps keep everyone on the same page and provides documentation for any changes.
  • Give warnings about upcoming changes: Give warnings about upcoming changes in the visitation schedule so everyone can plan ahead and not be surprised at the last minute.
  • Keep a visitation calendar: Keep a calendar that lists the agreed-upon visitation schedule and changes. Share that calendar with the other parent and refer to it on an ongoing basis.

Seeking Professional Help: Mediation And Legal Assistance For Managing Visitation Changes

Sometimes life’s changes demand that the visitation schedule be changed as well. If arguments or disputes between parents arise, or if you need some help figuring out the right way to approach the courts to make a change legally, you may want to consult an attorney to help you. Some options you have are:

Mediation: Mediation is an emotionally neutral setting that provides psychological support for parents who wish to negotiate changes in visitation schedules. In this process, a professional mediator supports parents by increasing their child-centered focus, providing objective feedback and analysis, and guiding them to reach a mutually agreeable resolution.

Legal Resources: Obtaining legal assistance can be a necessity in some situations. A family law attorney can help you make sense of the various issues you are facing, ensure that you are complying with the legal process and protecting your rights, and work to protect the best interests of your child.

If You Need Legal Advice, Call New York Family Law Group! 

Whether you’re dealing with your very first visitation schedule change this summer or your hundredth, know that it’s hard, but it doesn’t have to be overly difficult or complicated. With a positive attitude, a willingness to compromise, and some flexibility, you can make the switch easier for everyone. Summer is not the time to start drawing lines in the sand, insisting on having your own way, being inflexible, and being rigid. (You can reserve that for when school starts again!)

Try to make this summer one you and your children will never forget. When your children are with your ex, take that time for yourself—to rest, to get out, to have a break from the stress, and to plan for their return. Then the children are with you, be present, savor every moment, and make it count. What better way to get back at your ex (if you have to make it a competition) than to make this summer with your children so fun they won’t stop talking about it when they go back? And take the time to capture the memories with pictures and videos, so you can cherish them in the future.

We sincerely hope you have a wonderful summer with your kids and that this blog has helped inspire you to make the most of your time together. If you find yourself ever in need of a family law attorney, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will do all we can to help you, unless, of course, we are enjoying our time vacationing with our own kids!



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