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Coping With Summer Co-Parenting Conflict


For kids, summer vacation is a welcome break, but for parents, it is a stressful disruption of your plans.  Unless you are a teacher, your work schedule does not revolve around the school calendar; your responsibilities continue unabated, even as your kids require transportation to summer camps so far away that they make you want to give the school bus driver a big hug once the school year starts again, or your kids lounge around the house all day and play video games.  Summer vacation is hard enough when you don’t have an ex-spouse who keeps changing plans at the last minute or who constantly criticizes your spending habits or your kids’ screen time.  Your toolkit for surviving the summer as a divorced parent may include a court-ordered parenting plan, co-parenting apps, and a hefty dose of patience.  A Boca Raton child support lawyer can help you formulate a parenting plan that will enable you to weather the summer doldrums.

Make a Plan for Dealing With Summer Boredom or Summer Camp Expenses

Spending additional time in divorce mediation to iron out all the details of your parenting plan is one of the best investments you can make during divorce.  A well-written parenting plan can prevent most co-parenting conflicts, as long as both parents follow it in good faith.  The parenting plan template enables you to set one schedule for the school year and another for the summer.  During the school year, it makes sense for the kids to spend every school night with the same parent, unless the parents both live close to the school.

If the children go to summer camp, it also makes sense for the children to spend weeknights with the parent who lives closer to the summer camp.  Parenting plans do not say anything about which parent is responsible for paying for summer camp, and it is not considered a necessary expense for purposes of child support, except for elementary school-aged children who are too young to stay home alone, in which case it is considered a daycare expense.  They do, however, include provisions about which parent has the final decision about extracurricular activities, including but not limited to summer camps.

If you and your ex cannot afford summer camp, and your youngest child is at least 10 years old, the children can stay home while the parents work.  In this case, it is best to set a 2-2-3-2-2-3 schedule in the summer.  This way, neither parent gets stuck with the “I’m bored” chorus every weekday after work or vacuum the Dorito crumbs off the couch and clean the ice cream residue off the game controllers every night.

Facing Reality About Your Teens’ Summer Plans

High school-aged teens have their own plans, which can throw a parenting plan into disarray.  They might have summer jobs or driver’s ed.  They might even attend academic programs at universities out of town for several weeks.  You and your ex may need to modify your parenting plan, or face the fact that soon your teen will be old enough not to need parenting time at all.

Contact Schwartz | White About Summertime Co-Parenting

A South Florida family law attorney can help you draft a summer vacation-proof parenting plan.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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