Co-Parenting and Navigating Summer
Summer is traditionally a fun, adventurous time of year that we look forward to spending with our children. It’s every parent’s dream to be able to provide the same memorable summer experiences that they had when they were kids, and divorce doesn’t necessarily have to be a barrier to that dream. Achieving a fun and memorable summer with your kids is not only possible but also practicable. Here are some tips to ensure that your kids enjoy the summer months, whether they’re with you, your co-parent, or away.
- Always double-check all Agreements well in advance of travel plans for any pertinent details regarding vacation time, travel and parenting, especially if there are any other restrictions on your parenting/vacation time over the summer. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the Agreement require the co-parent to be notified of any travel with the kids? Is there any specific information that needs to be shared? Is there a timeframe within which this information is expected to be received?
- What type of travel requires notification to the co-parent?
- How far in advance are you required to exercise your “first choice” of vacation weeks?
- How far in advance do you need your co-parent’s permission to travel?
- PASSPORTS! If you need to get passports for the first time, BOTH parents will have to be involved in the passport application process. Who holds on to the passports? How far in advance do you need to request them from your co-parent if they are the usual holder of them?
2. Plan ahead! Give as much advance notice as is feasible when making any summer plans to ensure smooth sailing for everyone.
3. If important family events occurring over the summer are a priority to you, discuss these with your co-parent. Give as much advance notice as possible about these events if they do not fall during your parenting time.
4. Don’t spoil the summer for the kids by telling them about plans that the co-parent has not yet approved. This may cause you to make promises you can’t keep.
5. It’s important to remember that depending on the case in both NJ and NY, camp can be considered a necessity as a function of daycare hours. Check your Agreement to determine whether camp costs are covered under this umbrella. Additionally, decisions regarding the kids’ camp arrangements are typically made jointly, so make sure to consult with your co-parent early in the year, as some camps have very early decision deadlines.
6. If international travel is part of the summer plan, a notarized letter of consent from the other parent may be necessary for the child to cross any border or board an airplane.
Summer can and should still be a positive experience for you and your children, notwithstanding divorce. Proper preparation, planning and communication can help assure that this summer will be a wonderful, fun-filled summer to remember for both you and your children.