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Preparation is key for co-parenting over summer vacation

If you're a divorced parent, you've likely begun planning for your children's summer vacation. Typically, the earlier parents can finalize plans regarding child care, summer camps, trips and holiday activities, the less confusion and conflict they'll experience when summer arrives. If you and your co-parent included summer vacations in your original child custody agreement, you're a step ahead of parents who didn't.

Whether the schedule is included in your agreement or you're working it out now, it's important to let your kids know the details. Younger kids may have an especially difficult time adjusting to a summer schedule divided between two parents' homes -- particularly if they're still getting acclimated to their school year custody schedule. However, older kids need to know what the schedule is so they can more easily plan their activities with friends, their soccer team, summer jobs and more.

If this will be your first summer since the divorce, it may be an adjustment for you to be away from your kids for weeks or longer -- particularly if you're the parent with primary custody. Don't let your feelings impact your kids' ability to enjoy their time with their other parent.

On the other hand, if you'll have the kids for a longer period than you usually do, don't be hurt if they express sadness at being away from their other parent, and try not to take it personally. This is an adjustment for everyone.

Communication between co-parents is particularly important during the summer. You may not have to worry about the usual weekly drop-offs and pick-ups, but it's essential to keep each other up-to-date on how your kids are doing through whatever form of communication works best for you.

Sometimes, parents get confused about child support payments during the summer. A noncustodial parent who's paying support, for example, may think they don't need to pay if they've got the kids for a month (or perhaps the whole summer). You and your spouse may agree to a temporary child support modification. However, that is best done through the court, so there's no confusion or chance that your co-parent can accuse you of not paying.

If you need to make any modifications to your agreements or add some detail to them before summer vacation begins, your attorney can help you.

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The Law Office of Steven C. Girsky
503 Madison St.
Clarksville, TN 37040

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