For a parent with children, getting through the process of divorce is rarely easy. Unfortunately, the end of the legal process does not always correlate with the end of problems and challenges related to divorce. When there are minor children involved, you will need to co-parent your children post-divorce. Summer vacation is often among the biggest challenges for divorced parents. To help you tackle these challenges, a Murfreesboro child custody attorney at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby offers tips on how to get through summer vacation as a divorce parent with kids.
Understanding Your Parenting Plan
Whether this is your first summer vacation as a co-parent or you are a veteran, one of the most important things you can do to help make the summer vacation run smoothly is to understand the terms of your Parenting Plan. During the divorce, you were likely required to submit a Parenting Plan to the court for approval. Among other things, a Parenting Plan should include a parenting time schedule that makes it clear when the children are to spend parenting time with each parent.
Regarding summer vacation, the terms of your parenting plan may be general, allowing the parents to decide the details each summer or might be very specific. For example, your plan may simply indicate that the Alternative Residential Parent (the parent with whom the children do not live most of the time) has the children for two weeks each summer, leaving details such as which two weeks and whether they are consecutive up to the parents. Conversely, your plan may set forth in great detail how summer vacation time is to be spent by indicating exactly which weeks the kids will spend with the ARP, how the kids are to be transported, and whether they are allowed to leave the state on vacation with the ARP.
The important thing is to make sure that you have a clear understanding of the terms of your Parenting Plan as they relate to summer vacation.
Tips for Summer Vacation
- Make plans early. Unless your Parenting Plan is extremely detailed, it is always best to make sure you go over summer vacation plans with your former spouse prior to summer vacation starting. Even if your Parenting Plan includes details, it is still best to go over those details with the other parent to make sure you are both clear on who will have the kids when, how transportation will be handled, and other details.
- Discuss finances. A common cause of disputes when children spend an extended period of time with the ARP is money. Make sure you are both clear on who is responsible for paying expenses (such as childcare) related to the kids during time periods when they are with the ARP.
- Involve the kids if appropriate. If the children are old enough, and the Parenting Plan allows for flexibility, talk to the kids and ask them how they would like to handle summer vacation.
- Try to be flexible. When there is residual anger or animosity after a divorce it can be far too easy to let that influence how you handle summer vacation plans. Try to put your own feelings and emotions aside and be flexible, when possible, to make things easier for your children.
- Make plans for yourself. It can be difficult to let your children go for an extended period of time in the summer, particularly if this is your first summer after a divorce. Instead of sitting at home and worrying, plan a vacation for yourself. Not only will it distract you from worrying, but you are probably long overdue for some fun and relaxation yourself.
Contact a Murfreesboro Child Custody Attorney
If you have additional questions about child custody in Tennessee, consult with an experienced Murfreesboro child custody attorney as soon as possible. Contact the team at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.
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