Avoiding Summer Visitation Problems

When summer is coming, divorced and separated parents frequently run into problems with their custody and visitation situations during vacation periods. But these can be avoided by following several easy suggestions.

First: Relax! Many children are subject to a parenting plan that allows expanded time for the non-custodial parent over the summer. Your children may be looking forward to a camping trip with mom or a week at the lake with dad. Of course you will miss them while they are gone, but know they will be having fun. You should take that time and put it to good use recharging yourself, so you can be a better parent when they return.

Second: Communicate! Even though you and your partner may have had your issues when you were together, by the time you have a custody order, your mutual disagreements shouldn’t be the primary focus any more. Your child should be. It is important to communicate with the other parent regularly to discuss health, school, disciplinary measures and the child’s daily needs.

Third: Prepare! Talk to the children about the upcoming visit in as much detail as you have so that they are able to picture it in their minds and get excited. “When you go camping with daddy, you’ll be able to catch crayfish in the creek and sit up late by the fire roasting marshmallows!” If the children are old enough, let them collaborate on lists of what to take with them for the visit. Do they need to take their bikes? Do they have enough warm or cold weather clothing at the other parent’s home? You want your child to be happy and safe wherever he or she is – by sharing a positive attitude, you’ll let them be happy too.

Fourth: Follow through! Do what you say you’re going to do. There’s nothing sadder than a little face pressed up against the window waiting for a parent who never comes. Show up on time. If you’ve told your child you have a planned activity or trip, do what you’ve promised him. Sometimes changes can’t be avoided – trouble at work or a death in the family. Communication is important. Let your child know as soon as you’re able that your plans have changed and that you’ll reschedule just as soon as you can. If you’re the custodial parent, you should do what you’ve promised as well. Have your child ready at the agreed date and time, with everything she needs for the trip. This is not the time to complain about not getting paid your child support or punish the child for misbehavior. NEVER cancel visitation with the other parent as a punishment. That’s not fair.

Fifth: Be thoughtful! Vacation time is often happy time. It’s also a time with little responsibility and routine. Just because you’re having a wonderful time with Johnny after two weeks at Disney doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to go home and file for full custody, even if the child wants you to. Every day will not be a day at Disney at your home. There are always chores and tasks to be done in real life. The custodial parent has done the job for the school year of making sure homework gets done, teeth are brushed and bedtimes met. Respect the effort he or she has made and don’t try to pull a fast one. Be glad your child is healthy and delightful and remember to thank the other parent for his or her hard work. It takes both of you to send the child off into the adult world successfully. By Barbara Locke.

Other Articles about Child Custody

  • Common Child Custody Concerns – Perhaps the biggest thing that parents fear with regard to the issue of child custody is the possibility of having their children testifying in court.
  • Child Custody Assessments – A child custody assessment is an investigation by a psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker.
  • Age of Child and Custody – One of the most common questions parents ask is at what age can their children choose the custody and access arrangements.
  • Making Visitation Easier On the Children – Here are some ways to try and ease the visitation process and make it a little less painful for the kids.
  • Divorce and Relocating Children – Even if you have sole custody of your children you still must obtain the permission of the other parent before moving.
  • Joint Custody – “Joint custody” means that both parents have the right to make these decisions for their children.
  • Avoiding Summer Visitation Problems – When summer is coming, divorced and separated parents frequently run into problems with their custody and visitation situations during vacation periods.
  • Relocation Issues – What happens when one parent wants to move away with the children?

You're Invited to Contact Us!

If you are considering divorce -- or have already made your decision -- you're invited to email me on my contact form. I'll explain how you can protect your legal rights, reduce the expense of divorce, and protect your children from undue emotional stress.