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Co-parenting can be tricky sometimes. Really, in all fairness, it’s probably tricky most of the time. That can be especially true during the summer and for summer vacations. School is typically out during this time, and that can have an impact on demands for time and plans for activities and vacations until school is back in session. As you may be aware, that can make co-parenting more difficult. So how do you co-parent effectively during this time?
Plans have a way of changing, sometimes frequently, but that doesn’t mean that you should forgo having one. An important part of figuring out how to co-parent is figuring out how to make plans together. Depending on how the relationship is between the two of you, you may be able to make a plan for how to co-parent during the summer and for summer vacations by yourselves, or you may benefit from using a mediator. Your plan should cover things like how to meet the needs and interests of your children, any changes that have been made to jobs or location, handling summer holidays and vacations, and any adjustments that may need to be made for visitation or living circumstances. Make sure your plan is written down. Get it signed by the both of you and make sure you both have a copy. A great tool to assist parents in communicating summer plans is a co-parenting ap such as Our Family Wizard or Talking Parents.
Communication is key in any relationship. It’s especially crucial when figuring out how to co-parent effectively. Because you don’t spend as much time together and probably don’t communicate as much as a result, it’s important that the communication you do have is as effective as possible. That means sharing vacation plans as soon as you have them and keeping each other appraised of events taking place over the summer like activities and birthdays.
The quality of the communication is also important. Be respectful with your words and tone. Be clear when you provide information. Ask questions when you need clarification. Really listen and make sure you understand what is being communicated to you. Remember, effective communication is a two-way street. Keep in mind that a lot of children’s summer activities such as camps, extracurriculars, etc. take place during both parent’s parent-time. Therefore, both of you need to be on the same page and agree as to what activities the children should participate in over the summer, as both of you will share in the responsibility of taking the children to these activities.
Part of your co-parenting plan should be how you intend to manage the expenses associated with the summer months and vacations. They have a tendency to add up and can become burdensome if one parent is solely responsible for financing everything. It can be easy to tell your kids that they can’t do something because the other parent can’t afford it, but don’t do it. It doesn’t do your kids any good for you to say things that could alienate the other parent like that. Work together to come up with a plan and budget that works for both of you. Present a united front to the children as to what activities both parents have decide the children will participate in.
Being a kid is a busy time. Kids thrive on structure and consistency, but they also have to devote time to play, socializing, and building family relationships. Talking to them about plans, especially those involving vacations, and figuring out how they want to spend their summer can do great things for them. They’ll have a better idea of what to expect and will feel more involved. Keep your co-parent in the loop regarding what you’ve discussed with your kids. Remember, effective communication requires, well, communication. Never tell the children about a trip or an activity unless and until both parents are on the same page with the trip and activity. You never want the children to blame the other parent if, for example, a trip is suddenly canceled because one parent planned a summer vacation during the other parent’s parent-time without getting that parent’s approval.
Co-parenting during a time that can be so in flux the way the summer months can be requires a certain amount of flexibility and understanding on the part of both co-parents. Kids need both of their parents, which makes it your job to support them as they continue to build their relationship with their other parent.
Changes can crop up at any moment, some of which may be entirely out of your control, requiring you to be both flexible and understanding. Do your best to be understanding of both your co-parent and your kids. Change can be a stressful thing for adults, let alone children. Try to prepare your kids for their time away from you and be understanding when they miss their other parent.
Figuring out how to co-parent during the summer months can be tough, especially in regards to summer vacations. It often requires an additional level of planning, flexibility, and cooperation on the parts of both parents in order to work. The struggle can pay off in a big way, however. Effectively co-parenting with your ex-spouse should only be a good thing for your children. As innocents in this circumstance, that’s something that is well worth the time and effort that both of you should be putting towards the endeavor.
If you find that you cannot communicate with your co-parent regarding summer plans, that summer travel plans are being made during your summer parent-time with the children without your approval, that your children are being enrolled in camps and activities without your prior approval or consent, you may need to reach out to an experienced family law attorney. The attorney will assist you in working out your summer parent-time issues so that you can have as stress free of a summer as possible and enjoy your time with your children.
You don’t always stop needing an expert Salt Lake City family law attorney just because the divorce or child custody issues have been finalized. Click here to schedule a consultation with Just Law Utah to get the help you need as soon as possible.
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