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Summer break custody schedule should be part of parenting plan

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Your kids are already probably counting down the days until they are done with school for the year. We all remember how exciting it was when summer break finally arrived. As adults, summer break presents different emotions. And for divorced parents, summer vacation can present certain dilemmas.

There is, of course, the dilemma of who will care for the kids if both parents have to work. For parents who are divorced, there is the complex and often emotional matter of who will get the kids for what part of the summer vacation. Planning for this annual occurrence is important to save families anxiety and potential arguments.

Predictability can also be good for kids, depending on their ages and unique personalities. Parenting plans are, therefore, for more than the parents. By setting up a formal parenting plan as is the traditional family law requirement in California, a family is laying out how life will go after the divorce.

The parents will look at the agreements they made as guidelines in terms of their responsibilities and rights. Kids should not see the literal in-paper-form plan, but they will sense it and hopefully get a sense of stability as a result of an effective custody agreement. Summer break plans can contribute to that sense of stability.

If you are currently working out the terms of your divorce and you have kids, now is the time to focus on the holiday terms of your parenting plan. Summer break is a long break and right around the corner. How will you and your soon-to-be ex manage and share your time with the kids?

The state of California has a Holiday Parenting Form online to give you an idea, if you haven't already seen it, about what special days/holidays to plan for during your divorce. For summer break, the form breaks that timeframe into two parts. Are you comfortable with having the kids for the first half of summer while your spouse has them for the last portion? Of course, such an option is only applicable where parents share parenting 50-50. Options in a 50-50 plan is alternating weeks during the summer. The bigger difficulties exist where parents have a more traditional parenting plan with one parent having primary physical custody and specific vacation periods built into the plan, along with a process for how these get set up (deciding who gets first choice, etc.).

Other holiday times to consider while creating a parenting plan could be Winter Break, Spring Break, a child's birthday, the parents' birthdays, Father's Day, Mother's Day and more. There might be a date that is special to a parent for a personal reason; there is room to add that to the parenting plan if wanted and approved.

Talk honestly with your divorce lawyer about the custody hopes or concerns keeping you up at night. They will help make sure you at least try to address it through your parenting plan or other aspects of the family law process.

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