Your divorce may be over, but this significant event in your life will continue to impact your family. This is especially true if you and your former spouse have children together—co-parenting is often one of the most difficult parts of being divorced.
With summer fast approaching and kids about to be out of school and on summer break, you and your ex have a new set of challenges to face. Who will take care of the kids on which days? What about family vacations?
You can be prepared for your children’s summer and different vacations with both parents. Help make summer fun for everyone and eliminate anxiety and confusion about the kids’ schedules. Here’s how you can handle divorce during the summer break!
Plan Your Vacations Ahead of Time
Summer is one of the most popular times to take a vacation. Waiting until children are out of school to make your plans can be a mistake that causes conflict between you and your ex. Instead, make your plans now.
Determine when each parent will have their individual vacation time with the kids. You can ask your attorney to specify these times in the Order of Agreement. If you and your ex have trouble agreeing on a schedule, stick to the Order of Agreement. This way, both parties understand what is expected of them and you won’t need to have an attorney or the court intervene to figure it out.
Vacations also happen during other school breaks, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring break. Detail your court documents to reflect the schedule on these holidays as agreed upon by either you and your spouse or your respective attorneys. It’ll make the breaks and vacation times that much easier for everyone.
Communicate with Your Ex
Your marriage has ended, so it’s understandable that you may not be on good terms with your ex. Talking about your ex’s visitation with the children can create tension. You both may be confused or frustrated. It’s important to keep your communication clear and not involve your children in these discussions.
It’s best to talk about your plans in advance and agree on specific days and times each of you will have the kids. Know what plans your ex has made. If they’ll be traveling with your child over the summer, keep communication open.
When your ex is packing for your child, don’t assume that he or she knows what to pack. Talk to them about keeping your child to a routine and about safety precautions, such as any limitations during activities or keeping to medication schedules.
If you have any unclear contact with your ex or reason to believe he or she won’t stick to the plans, get your vacation schedules in writing. Have your attorney get them signed by both parties and submit to the court. This way, your agreement is enforceable by law.
Be Prepared to Spend Time Away from the Kids
If you’re newly divorced with children, you may not be used to being away from your kids. Co-parenting can be challenging, especially among recently divorced couples. Talk with your kids about the coming changes. Let them know you’re exited about their time with the other parent.
In addition to spending time with your children this summer, you should also be prepared to spend time away from your kids. If you’re upset about the arrangements, don’t let your children see. Give them permission to enjoy their vacation time with Mom or Dad.
When you aren’t the parent that has primary custody, be prepared to see your children more than usual over the break. This can be a great opportunity for you to take trips, spend more time together, and enjoy the summer.
Now that you’ve planned for the kids, plan for yourself! Be prepared for your time away from the children. Do something for yourself—take a trip with friends, relax at home, or finish a project you’ve been meaning to do.
Knowing where your child is when they’re with your ex and having necessary contact information can help reassure you. You can check in at your leisure and ensure that everything’s going well while they’re gone.
Stick to the Schedule
When you once had the freedom to take your kids wherever you wanted whenever you wanted, a schedule may seem overwhelming and impossible. Don’t worry—the schedule is there to make your life easier.
Creating and sticking to a parenting schedule that’s specific with dates and times can help things go smoothly for everyone. You’ll avoid confusion and conflict with your ex while also creating a routine that your children will rely on and be comforted by.
Do your best not to stray from the schedule except in the event of emergencies. Don’t make plans without your ex’s approval. If there is an emergency and your plans change, get in touch with your former spouse as soon as possible to let them know what’s going on.
And remember, your kids will grow and change. While the schedule is a certain way now, it’ll need to be adjusted at some point in the future to accommodate everyone’s needs.
This summer can still be a fun and exciting time for your family even in the wake of divorce. Spending quality time with your children can help them cope with this change in their life. It’s important to have a set schedule to keep everyone clear on the plans. Don’t wait to schedule your vacation time.
Communicating clearly with your former spouse and being prepared to not have your kids all summer can help you get through this challenging time. With the kids out of school, you can still enjoy family time and keep your kids happy. Enjoy your summer!