Summer Vacation and Child Custody

“Summer vacation" is a phrase which conjures a good bit of nostalgia for many Americans. Memories of family vacations, road trips, and summer camp come to mind. Most people want to help their children experience the same or similar fun memories, as well as reliving the fun for themselves. Summer vacation when the parents are divorcing or have divorced presents some issues to consider both before and after the final order.

Typically the best way to finish a divorce or custody matter is through a settlement. The parents are in the best position to know the needs of their family and craft a parenting schedule tailored to those needs. The issue of summer vacation should not be overlooked. A common technique is for each parent to receive a block of time in the summer in order to be able to take the child on vacation. This block of time is typically two uninterrupted weeks, or two non-consecutive weeks, but if you and your partner are able to reach a settlement, there is no reason to restrict the summer vacation to such a plan. Parents often will make more creative agreements that are designed to maximize the child's time with each parent. During the summer when school schedules are not an issue, this typically affords more flexibility. For example, the parents could elect to move to an equal parenting time schedule during the summer. Alternatively, the overnights with the non-custodial parent could be shifted to a time other than the weekend if that is better for the parent’s work schedule. The parents should think carefully about the child's needs and activities and make sure to account for those in the final order.

After the divorce or custody case is over, there may still be issues that arise concerning summer vacation. A common question is how to handle it when a parent’s summer vacation time overlaps with the other parent's normal visitation schedule. In general, holiday or vacation time "overrides" the normal schedule, but parents should carefully read their custody order and consult with their attorneys if they have questions. Another common issue is summer activities. Summer camp, including overnight camp, is a common selection for children of many ages. Each parent may select to enroll his or her child for camp that occurs during parenting time. However, even if a parent has sole custody with respect to making decisions for the child, he or she may not force the other parent to allow the child to go to camp during the non-custodial parent’s parenting time

Vacation time can present special issues for parents living in separate households due to divorce or separation. Contact us today at (732) 529-6937 and to talk about your vacation schedule in terms of your custody case.

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