Ah, yes, one of our favorite times of the year…summer. It epitomizes America, from the 4th of July to Labor Day weekend, and is usually filled with barbeques, swimming, and fireworks. But, for those who co-parent as well as family lawyers and courts from sea to shining sea, summer weekends often turn into parenting time confrontations and disputes between many.
Holidays and special weekends can be tricky and difficult for divorcing and separated parents, as there may be no established rules (or ambiguous ones) for parenting time. During holidays, it is common for co-parents without specific and precise parenting time plans and schedules to get into hot water. For parents in these situations, here are a few tips to help:
Plan and Have Open Communication – The old adage “if you plan for the worst, you can expect the best” holds true. If you discuss and lay out plans in advance, chances are better that you will be able have success in meeting them.
Be Flexible – It also pays for couples to be flexible in giving parents time with children. Long summer days allow for both parents to have a great deal of time with kids, whether it is on Sunday (the Fourth of July) or sometime during the weekend. Also, at the end of the day, family courts expect parents to put their children’s interests first and holiday scheduling is no exception.
Control your emotions – Avoid the temptation to seek retribution when you feel you were wronged or short-changed with parenting time in the past. Playing tit for tat with parenting time is treacherous as it shows that a parent is willing to use their children as pawns in a never-ending twisted game of parental chess. You should never feel you are being taken advantage of or missing time with your child – but be mindful of balancing these feelings with your overall time with your children as well as their best interests and quality of life.
Should you have questions about divorce, custody or parenting time (with respect to a special summer weekend or any other holidays and schedules), please reach out to us or another family law attorney to ensure you are doing what is best for both you and your children this summer season.