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A Child Custody Lawyer Discusses Tips for Summer Vacations for Shared Custody


Co-parenting through shared custody usually works out very well for parents and children. It allows the children to maintain a close relationship with both parents while allowing both parents to be active participants in the daily lives of their children. Parents who can work together through their child custody lawyer to arrive at a shared custody agreement also find that it is easier to adhere to schedules because they have more freedom in setting up the shared parenting schedule than if they allow the court to impose custody and visitation schedules.

One issue that can be a problem is summer vacation. Children are out of school and parents want to take advantage of the vacation to take family trips. Schedules can often get messed up during the summer; however, with a little preparation, parents can avoid the issues that some other parents run into regarding summer vacation.

Summer Vacation Co-Parenting Tips

  • Take turns choosing summer vacation first. In odd years, the father chooses the weeks he wants the children for summer vacation and in even years the mother chooses first. This allows both parents to plan family vacations in advance at least every other year.

  • Set a notification date. In order to avoid conflict, pick a deadline for notifying the other parent of summer vacation plans. The earlier the date the better for both parents as every other year the parent will be on the receiving end of the news.

  • Share details of vacationing spots and activities with the other parent. You want to know what your children are doing when they are not with you and so does your ex-spouse. This is especially true if your children will be traveling out of the state.

  • Set a duration for summer vacations. Shared parenting is structured; therefore, you should set a maximum duration for summer vacation so that neither parent is away from the children for too long.

  • If your children will attend summer camps, consult with the other parent before registration. Each parent can propose camps that the children have shown an interest in or the parents believe are beneficial. Together, decide the camps that your children will attend and who will pay for the fees. Then schedule the remaining summer weeks according to your schedules.

  • If new partners will be included in family vacations, discuss this issue prior to the vacation. It may be an uncomfortable discussion to have with your ex-spouse; however, it is better to do this in advance rather than tackle the issue after your child “reports” the situation upon returning from summer vacation.

  • Discuss contact during summer vacation. Your normal routine for telephone contact may not be convenient if you are on a summer trip. Discuss a schedule for telephone contact before you leave and make sure that the child is available during these times to talk to his or her other parent.

  • Be flexible. You may not always be able to do what you intended to do during summer vacation because of plans made by the other parent. Being flexible will reduce stress and conflict. Realize the most important thing is that you spend time with your kids during summer break — where does not matter as much as the amount of time you spend with them.

  • Do not compete with your ex-spouse. Summer vacation is not about who took the kids on the biggest, most expensive trip. When you compete with your ex-spouse, your children lose because this creates animosity between parents. Again, you kids just want to spend time with you. Keep that as your main focus and everyone will benefit.

  • Don’t forget the kids! While you should not allow your children to dictate your plans, it is important to include your children when planning a vacation. Taking their wants and needs into account will make for a much more pleasant vacation for everyone.

  • Mediate differences. If you and your ex-spouse cannot come to an agreement, hire a child custody lawyer to mediate the dispute. This is often much less expensive and frustrating than going back to court to settle the matter. Using a child custody lawyer as a mediator generally produces a much more satisfactory outcome than allowing a judge to decide for you.

Contact an Experienced Jacksonville Child Custody Lawyer

“Attorneys Who Aggressively Protect Your Rights”

The child custody lawyer of The Trevor J. Avery Law Firm represents clients throughout Onslow County and the surrounding communities. Our child custody lawyer has extensive experience in all areas of North Carolina custody law including shared parenting. Call our office at (910) 405-8459  or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.