With summer heating up and school soon to come to a close, you can expect to see your kids a lot more often in the upcoming months – at least when they’re at your place.
But for families that have gone through divorce or separation, the challenges that come with co-parenting can be tough to navigate, even if the split between you and your ex isn’t new. You may have a lot of questions on your mind, such as who the children will stay with on what days and how to navigate planned family vacations.
No matter what your situation is, Norman Dowler LLP encourages parents to stay cool this summer by following these co-parenting strategies:
Plan Vacations Early
Don’t wait until the last minute to reveal to your ex-partner the vacation plans you have (either for yourself or for the kids) this summer. This will only cause tension within your family unit.
Remember, you can always speak with an attorney to help you create an agreement regarding your co-parenting schedule. Your attorney can also help you divide other significant school breaks (Thanksgiving, winter holidays, etc.) between you and your former spouse so that you both get to share time with the kids equally.
Keep Communication Lines Open with Your Ex-Spouse
Whatever your relationship with your ex looks like now, keep the kids’ best interest in mind. Avoid talking about visitation rights and scheduling in front of your children, especially if you suspect that an argument could erupt.
If either one of you feels frustrated, always default to the schedule you agreed upon. Keep open communication lines with your ex. This will help you as you both get a better understanding of your children’s summer schedules, concerns, allergies/medical needs, and so forth.
Stay Busy When You’re ‘Off Duty’
It can be hard for some parents to come to terms with the free time they have when the kids are spending time with their other parent. In fact, you might feel guilty at the thought of having more time for yourself. It’s important to realize that yes, you may have some extra time on your hands, but there’s nothing wrong with that.
Keep yourself busy with activities that you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time for, whether it’s joining a book club, going to happy hour, golfing, surfing, taking a mini-vacation, or volunteering at an animal shelter. If you’re preoccupied with the various hobbies or trips you’ve planned, you’ll have less time to feel guilty or sad that you’re not with the kids.
Even if you and your ex have already established a schedule, be willing to negotiate on some of the stipulations. For example, if your ex wants to have the kids for an extra couple of days so that they can enjoy a family vacation, don’t be rigid. Think about the fun your children will have and the many amazing memories they’ll get to make. Also be cognizant about how many times you call or text your children and be respectful of the time they’re spending with their other parent.
And when it’s your turn with the kids, be understanding if they’re missing the other parent. Consider tweaking the co-parenting schedule so that your children feel that they’re spending adequate time with both parents.
If you are seeking legal counsel regarding divorce or custody issues, contact our seasoned family law attorneys at Norman Dowler LLP. Since 1958, we have helped thousands of clients with their legal matters, providing legal representation tailored to Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles Counties.