School’s is out for summer and kids all over New Jersey find reason to celebrate. But for children of separated or divorced parents, summertime can bring with it changes in custody arrangements that can cause extra stress. A parent may resent how the schedule change will impact everyday routines — activities, time spent with friends and even time spent with the custodial parent. And despite the great progress that has been made in New Jersey, there are still COVID requirements to consider.
Both parents should be mindful of their children’s apprehensions and develop a summertime schedule that’s based on their best interests. It’s important to create a schedule in advance — one that works for your family and one that your children fully understand — to help ease the transition when the time comes.
Some considerations when planning your summer calendar:
- Start by placing your court-ordered visitation dates on the calendar: Map out when the children are with you and when they will visit the other parent. This will go a long way in avoiding conflict between parents and keep family stress to a minimum.
- Consider summer holidays and birthdays: Your Allocation of Parental Responsibilities may designate who receives various holidays throughout the year. Often, these holidays rotate. For example, Mom getting the Fourth of July one year, and Dad having that holiday the next. They may also alternate, so that when Mom gets the Fourth of July, Dad gets Labor Day, etc.
- Allow for flexibility: Think about certain situations that you will need to plan for, such as extended parenting time for a non-custodial parent who lives far away, floating holiday weeks, or having a general time frame for the other parent taking the kids on vacation, even if the exact dates are still to be determined.
- Consider your family’s plans and preferences: This can include everything from summer school, camps, school sports, family vacations, teenagers’ work schedules, child care availability and other activities that take place over the summer months.
- Communicate early: Once you have an idea about your ideal summer parenting schedule and your top priority dates, compare schedules with your former partner. Communication and compromise are important in developing a schedule that works for the whole family.
- Seek legal help for disputes: If you and your former partner cannot agree on your children’s time schedule, a family law attorney can help you by clarifying the language of your current order and negotiating with your former partner on your behalf. There needs to be a resolution you can both agree to while keeping your children’s best interest in mind. In the event that your former partner refuses to comply with the parenting time plan set out in your Allocation of Parental Responsibilities, a family law attorney can help you file a motion to enforce it, so that you get the full visitation rights you are entitled to.
Tanya Freeman and the experienced family law attorneys at Weiner Law Group LLP know how to help you plan your children’s summer parenting time in a way that minimizes conflict. We are experts at negotiations and mediation, as well as NJ parenting time enforcement options to protect your time with your children over the summer break. Contact us or call us at 973-403-1100 to schedule a consultation.