Tips for Child Custody and Summer Vacation
Summary: Summer is here and that means it is time for summer vacation. For most families, summer means abandoning their regular schedules and cutting loose for two months. When you have a child custody agreement in place, summer vacation can mean fights and chaos.
Summer is here and that means it is time for summer vacation. For most families, summer means abandoning their regular schedules and cutting loose for two months.
When you have a child custody agreement in place, summer vacation can mean fights and chaos. New routines, summer camps, and family vacations can all disrupt the status quo of your custody agreement and lead to misunderstandings and resentment. Instead of allowing this summer to be an exercise in frustration for every member of the family, talk with your former spouse before school ends to develop a summer custody plan. By both agreeing to be flexible and working together for your child's sake, you can give him or her a great summer vacation while enjoying these weeks yourselves as well.
Have a Plan in Place for Vacations
This plan can be written into your custody order or simply agreed upon between you and your former spouse, depending on your circumstances and flexibility. This simply means talking about your summer plans before the summer begins and adjusting your custody schedule accordingly. For example, if you want to take your child to Disney World for 10 days in August, but this would cut into your child's time with your former spouse, see if you can work out a plan that allows for you to take the trip. Maybe you can arrange for your child to call your former spouse a few times during the trip or to spend a few extra days with him or her once you get back. A licensed counselor or mediator can help you develop a vacation plan that allows your child to spend quality time with each parent.
Your custody order may have some guidelines in place regarding vacations, such as limits on how far either parent can take the child and how long vacations may be.
Communicate with your Former Spouse
In all issues regarding your child, communication with your former partner is key. While you are on vacation with your child, notify your former spouse about where you are and how to reach you so he or she knows how to contact your child in case of an emergency.
Communication is important at home as well. During the summer, most parents relax their household rules in ways like allowing children to go to bed later and have friends sleep over on weekdays. If anything your former spouse is doing with your child concerns you, like allowing him or her to go swimming unsupervised, do not be afraid to bring this up and express your concerns. Your child's health and safety should be your top priorities and, as parents, it is your job to work together to make sure your child is not at risk of being harmed.
Keep Up with your Illinois Child Support Payments
Unless your child support order specifically states that support payments are modified for the summer, continue making your payments as you normally do. It does not matter if your custody schedule is different for the summer – your children still need your financial support. Failure to make your child support payments can lead to legal action against you, including the suspension of your driver's license and professional licenses.
Costs related to summer camps, childcare, and activities for your child can also become an important point for you and your former spouse to consider. These costs may be considered to be part of your child support obligation. If not, talk to your former spouse about contributing to some of the costs associated with these needs.
Use Summer Vacation as a Time to Connect as a Family
If you have a new partner, use the summertime as your chance to plan fun things for him or her to do with you and your child. Give them the opportunity to get to know each other through activities like swimming, hiking, and outdoor sports. If your new partner also has children, this can be a great opportunity for you and your child to get to know them and create positive family bonds.
Child Custody Attorneys in DuPage County
For more help with determining a summertime custody schedule that works for your family, contact Pesce Law Group, P.C. today at (630) 352-2240 to schedule your initial consultation with a skilled DuPage County family law attorney. We understand the obstacles that divorced parents and their children face throughout the year and can help you work through these challenges. Do not wait to begin working with our firm – contact us today to get started.
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