It's that time of year again! With school picnics and yearbook distribution, children are being released from the daily drudgery of early mornings and homework. At or around Memorial Day each year, children celebrate the end of another school year and all the possibility of what summer brings with it. Summer gives children the opportunity to go on vacations, visit family, try new outside activities and go to summer camp. Summer tends to be a period of transition and change for most children, and this can be complicated even more so for children with separated parents. Often children who are part of a custody dispute experience double the demands on their time as other children, which can be stressful even in the relaxing summer months. In these cases, it is important for parents to work together with their attorneys to craft an appropriate and workable custody schedule.
Often, school age children will reside with one parent for most of the school year, this is especially true when one parent resides in Pennsylvania and the other parent lives in another state. In these cases, most often the child will spend the bulk of (if not the entire) summer in the custody of the other parent. This can sometimes put pressure on relationships as children feel like they must consolidate quality time with one parent into a few short weeks of the summer. It is important that parents work together to ease the transition and take some of the school year pressure of children. Remember, because the children are not in school for eight plus hours a day five days a week during the summer, there is more flexibility to scheduling.
However, that flexibility can be complicated as children are signed up for sleep away camps and summer school. Parents should remember to keep each other in mind when scheduling these activities for their children. Just like most custody orders require that you provide notice and contact information for a vacation, you also have to provide the other parent with information about Susie's new science camp or Billy's trip to the mountains with the neighbors. Also, remember that you will need to work together to put a schedule together that works for the kids. Shared legal custody is still in place during the summer, and as a result, you will need to talk to each other about major decisions such as whether this year's summer camp should be in Washington County or Washington State. Furthermore, if you live close to each other and share custody during the school year, you will need to work together to make sure that neither parent's custody is unreasonably restricted by the children's activities over the summer and each parent gets make up time if something interferes with a scheduled custody day.
If you are a parent in a separated family and would like help working out a workable custody schedule for the summer, contact our Western Pennsylvania office today!