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How Should Parents Handle Child Custody and Summer Vacations?

When parents go through a divorce, or if they are not married but need to create a parenting plan, the parent should create a parenting plan that lays out the schedule the children will follow in determining which parent the children will spend time with and when. The plan is based on everyone’s respective schedule considering individual jobs, school, and any outside activities and vacations that might be planned.

However, a major complication that can arise with that plan is the onset of summer. Although the parents’ work schedule will probably remain the same, the child will be on summer break, so they will not have school. In addition, there could be other activities in which the child wishes to participate, including camps, sports practices, and other summer activities. To avoid any problems, parents should create a summer break schedule ahead of time.

Developing a plan to establish a schedule for the summer can be complicated, especially when trying to accommodate everyone’s schedule and desires. A parent could also have a particularly difficult ex-spouse with whom they have to negotiate, and it can be challenging. Hiring a lawyer experienced in child custody issues can help represent a parent in crafting a summer plan.

What is a Summer Break Schedule?

A summer break schedule is a residential schedule of which the two parents agree that specifically focuses on the summer hours to accommodate the child’s new flexible schedule. It is another opportunity for the parents to allow for equal time in their parenting schedule.

Ideally, when parents are putting together their parenting plan to determine the parenting plan in New Jersey, they should incorporate their summer plans into such a schedule. This will alleviate any problems that arise when the summer months arrive. If the plan does not make any accommodations for the summer months, the schedule as it has been carried out will continue. For instance, if the father has the child during the week and the mother usually picks the child up from school on Friday afternoon and drops them off on Monday morning, that schedule would remain in effect for the summer except that the mother would pick up and drop off the child at the father’s residence.

When Should Couples Adopt Their Summer Break Schedule?

It is important for the couple to develop their summer break schedule as soon as possible so that all parties involved can make accommodations. Most plans should lay out the arrangements for the summer unless the parents decide that they will alternate summers. Under those circumstances, there should be language included in the plan that establishes when a parent should claim a summer and provide for flexibility should they miss that deadline.

Language can be added that requires one parent to provide the other with notice when they want to enact their visitation rights. The summertime can be trickier because the child could be attending camp, at a sporting event, or visiting with a relative who traveled from far away. Parents will not wish to deprive their child of these and other experiences because they failed to communicate and plan properly.

Will Summer Hours Get in the Way of Holiday Visitation?

Vacation selection should also not interfere with holiday visitation. Holiday visitation will take priority over all other visitations. To emphasize this point, language that says as much should be included in the parenting plan. This includes holidays such as Memorial Day, Father’s Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day. It can also include the birthday of one of the parents or a member of their family.

Finally, a parent might attempt to tack on their vacation to their regular visitation to extend the amount of time they have with their child. Although their intentions might be noble, they cannot go against the parenting agreement in terms of when they must return the child to their other parent. For those who suspect their ex-spouse might attempt such a move, they can specify in the parenting plan that vacation should not be tacked on to visitation.

New Jersey Child Custody Lawyers at Burnham Douglass Help Ensure You Get the Summer Plan Right for You and Your Children!

With the summer only a few weeks away, you should have your summer break schedule in place. If not, the child custody lawyers at Burnham Douglass can help you develop one that includes language that will protect the things that matter the most to you. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 856-751-5505 or contact us online. We have offices in Marlton and Northfield, New Jersey, and proudly serve clients in South Jersey, Camden County, Burlington County, Atlantic County, Gloucester County, and Mercer County.

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