School’s out and Summer has arrived! With the promise of $20-dollar theme park hamburgers and cooler temperatures beckoning us out of town, holiday travel and summer vacations become fertile ground for conflict in co-parenting. Don’t let a road trip throw your family off course, read on for some quick tips to enjoy the heat and avoid a co-parenting melt down.
1) Review your parenting plan! – Its been a whole year since last summer, check your plan for details. When planning for summer vacations and no-school planning, stick to the terms you and you co parent agreed to.
2) Change is Good, When everyone Agrees- Life happens and as such, you may have to rearrange and reschedule vacations to fit what is actually going on ( a special event that takes place outside of a particular parenting time schedule, illness, etc. ) It is not uncommon for parents to diverge from a parenting plan and the court anticipates this possibility. Parents are encouraged to work with each other to accommodate changing schedules and circumstances so long as both parties agree. If you need to change it up during the summer, and everyone agrees, DO IT! (and read Number 3**)
3) Get it in Writing!- Co-parenting works best when parties communicate, it works even better when parties communicate in writing. Go ahead and make the agreed upon changes to your parenting plan, but ALWAYS commit your changes to a writing. A clearly written agreement ensures everyone is on the same page and prevents conflict when and if parties have a disagreement about the change to the parenting plan.
4) Don’t Keep it a Secret! – Let your co-parent know what your plans are in advance. Most parenting plans have a notification requirement, that is, the traveling party is required to let the other parent know their plans and details ( ex. Trip location, flight numbers, emergency contacts, etc.) but if yours doesn’t, do give some notice anyway. Keeping your co-parent in the know may avoid scheduling conflicts, reassure your co-parent, and creates the opportunity for a positive interaction between co-parents.