Summer vacation is a beautiful goal for your children, something they look forward to all year long. For you, though, it means three months of confusion and stress.
You're divorced, and your child custody plan centered around the fact that your kids typically spent the day at school. You and your ex set things up so that you could both work and take care of them.
In the summer, everything changes. Your own schedules get hectic, and the kids' schedules are all over the place. How can you possibly make this work until the fall? Below are five tips that can help:
1. Communicate with your ex
The biggest thing that eliminates confusion is communication. Talk to your ex. Going on a trip during your week with the kids? Tell your ex in advance. Hoping he or she can help you out with transportation more often so that you can go to work? Talk it out. You're not married, but you need to communicate like a married couple, anyway.
2. Stay open to compromise
Understand that nothing is ideal for either one of you at this point. Do not assume that your life shouldn't have to change, but your ex's should. Look for ways that you can compromise and work together to help the children. This makes life easier for you and for them.
3. Plan as much as possible
Spontaneous trips sound fun and exciting, but they add to the chaos. Plan everything that you can. Talk about holidays, like the Fourth of July, and what you plan to do. Talk about vacations and road trips. If your kids have summer birthdays, plan out celebrations so you can both stay involved. Without the structure of school giving you a set plan all of the time, you have to make the plan for yourself.
4. Ask the proper legal questions
Check your divorce decree, your parenting plan and your child custody agreement. What rules and regulations do you have to abide by?
For instance, if you want to take a vacation out of the state, are you allowed to do it without written permission from your ex? What if you decide to take that trip right out of the country? Does your ex have to ask you for the same type of permission? When are you allowed to leave the children with a babysitter? Does your ex have to agree on what babysitter you hire?
Know where you stand
These are all important questions to ask. You need to make sure you know where you stand, legally speaking. If you do not, something as simple as taking a week off of work to go on a trip with your kids could land you in court.