Spring is just days away. Once the calendar turns to April, we’ll be planning for the end of the school year and summer vacation.
In California families where the parents live apart, summer sometimes can be more stressful than fun-filled if parents aren’t on the same page. That’s why parents should start working together soon to plan a summer schedule for the kids.
Your summertime plans will depend on the ages of the children. If you have older teens, they’ll have their own agenda – maybe a summer job or summer classes – that could affect your normal custody and visitation schedule. Kids in elementary or middle school might be interested in attending a summer camp or two for more immersion in their passion, such as basketball, which also could throw off the schedule.
And then, both parents want to take the kids on a getaway.
So what do you do?
It’s important for parents to sit down together with a blank calendar – paper or electronic will do – and pencil in all the commitments you have. Add in parental vacation plans and the one-day events you know about: family picnics, birthday parties, beach get-togethers.
If you’re lucky, the dates will mesh. If they don’t, you will need to work out a compromise.
- Don’t buy any non-refundable plane tickets or make hotel reservations you can’t cancel.
- While your vacation time from work already has been approved, ask the boss which alternate dates are available should you and your co-parent both choose the same dates.
- Verify daycare or camp plans and lock in the dates as well as who will drop off and pick up the kids. Some of these programs fill up fast.
- Involve the older teens in these plans. Your teens will need to request the time off from their summer job for vacations.
Once you settle the schedule, fill in a Google calendar you can share with the other parent. That way, both of you have the agreed schedule at your fingertips.
A Google calendar is another great idea for parents who don’t have a good relationship and might not want to sit down together. You each can fill in your preferred dates and negotiate changes by phone or text.
If your ex-partner is inflexible about the summer schedule, consult with your family law attorney about how you can break the stalemate.