For kids, summer break can be a welcome relief from the daily demands of school and extracurricular activities. For divorced parents, the end of the school year often involves adjusting to a new co-parenting routine. Although there may be challenges, sharing child custody in California during summer doesn’t have to be stressful for you or your kids.
Check Your Child Custody and Visitation Orders
When you created your custody and visitation orders, you and your ex most likely included terms that set out how you would share legal and physical custody in the summers. Before your summer schedule begins, reviewing these orders and familiarizing yourself with the expected terms may be helpful. That way, you can start preparing before the changes take place.
Ideally, you and your California child custody attorney will have taken the time to develop custodial provisions that are suited to your family’s needs. If that is not the case, or your circumstances have changed, you may need to schedule an appointment with your California child custody lawyer to review these issues and determine if you need to modify your orders.
Check-In and Communicate with Each Other
You and your ex checking in with each other on your respective summer plan may help you minimize conflict. It may be that one or both of you would like to travel with your children. As parents, it’s important to communicate with one another regarding where your children will spend time. Keeping each other in the loop may help alleviate concerns and support your co-parenting dynamic.
Be Flexible When Possible
When California child custody and visitation orders are created, the terms are typically based on the parties’ needs and circumstances at the time. However, unlike these orders, families and their requirements tend to change. It may be that when your orders were created, your family did not anticipate traveling out of state in the summer. Fast forward a few years, and one of your children may have extensive summer team commitments both in and out of state. Likewise, a parent may want to travel with the kids during a time when the other has physical custody. Depending on the circumstances, you and your ex may need to revisit the agreement and make adjustments. When parents can be together and be flexible when reasonable, it helps support the co-parenting dynamic and minimize stress for the children.
Remember, It’s Not a Contest
Sometimes parents get caught up trying to outdo one another to entertain the kids during the summer. It’s important to remember that you and your ex are not in competition. Your kids want to spend time with each of you, whatever that looks like. It may help to recognize that the time your spend together is about connecting as a family and not doing more than their other parent.
Maintain Boundaries and Spend Quality Time Together
Summer can be a more casual and relaxed time for families. There can also be more opportunities to talk to and around your kids. Just as during the school year, it’s important to maintain boundaries and not disparage the other parent in the presence of the children. You also want to work with and not against the other parent when it comes to establishing and keeping certain ground rules in place. For example, you and your ex may want to discuss bedtimes, electronics, and suitable entertainment and see if you can get on the same page. Otherwise, you or your ex may run into situations where the kids operate under vastly different rules in each parental home. Everything doesn’t have to be the same, but it may help you, your ex, and your kids if you can keep things consistent.
Contact a California Child Custody Attorney
Sometimes, it’s best for everyone if parents formally modify their child custody orders. If you believe that your orders need to be changed or updated, you should consult with an experienced California child custody attorney. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced child custody attorneys who can help. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website. We assist clients along California’s Northern to Southern Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin, San Jose, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.