This is my first summer splitting custody of my school-age child with my ex. What is the best way to handle this situation?
If you are learning to co-parent after a divorce or separation, the first year or so can introduce new and unexpected changes in family dynamics. For the school-age child, the freedom offered by the summer months may also mean a change or adjustment to the visitation schedule. Oftentimes, these issues are addressed in a custody and visitation order incorporated into the final divorce decree. However, if you are operating without a visitation order, or are considering seeking a modification now that your child is a little older, the following tips may help you navigate the upcoming summer months.
Remember that your child, just like anyone, will need time to relax and restore during the time off from school. Of course, scheduling fun activities like camping or water parks are an essential component to the summer experience. However, be mindful to not over-schedule your child – as he or she undoubtedly wants some down time too.
For some families, it makes sense to rework the visitation schedule to allow for longer extended visits. For example, parents can rotate weeks on and off, or agree to a two-week rotation beginning on the last day of school until the beginning of the following school year. For older children, spending a month with the non-custodial parent during the summer proves advantageous, as it allows both the child and the parent an opportunity to bond and spend an increased amount of time together.
If you currently have a custody and visitation order in place, perhaps you are considering a modification of its current terms. Oftentimes, orders are entered when a child is very young, reflecting a toddler or preschooler’s needs. If your child is in upper elementary school, or approaching high school, it may be time to revisit the custody and visitation arrangement – particularly if your older child has expressed interest in a modification.
To learn more about co-parenting or custody/visitation modifications, please contact the family law firm of Cohen Family Law today. You can reach our Phoenix, Arizona office by calling (602)714-8898 today.