Sometimes custody orders fail to have a specific schedule for child visitation during the summer months. Let’s face it, the child custody schedule that worked throughout the school year for your child is not always the schedule that works for you and your family during the summer. Unlike during the school year, families often take vacations away from home during the summer. This time of year children also engage in extracurricular activities that they didn’t participate in during the fall and winter such as attending summer camps, playing baseball and taking swim lessons.
Now is the time to review your custody order. If you don’t see a part of that order that specifically addresses how you and the other parent will be dealing with summer vacation this year now is the best time to address this issue. Perhaps you and the other parent are in agreement about how your child should split their time between yourselves over the summer. That’s great! Our office would be happy to assist you in writing up a consent order. (Remember, any custody agreement, verbal or written, is not enforceable until it has been filed with the court.)
If you and the other parent seem to be disagreeing about the summer custody schedule, our office can assist you with that as well. If your custody schedule has to be modified by the court you will want to speak to a lawyer now about how to modify a custody order before the summer starts and a vacation you have planned is impacted. You and your family deserve to enjoy summer while it lasts, and not be dealing with a custody battle in the middle of July.
What should you do about the custody of your child during summer vacation when you don’t have a custody order?
Much of the information above still applies. Have you discussed the upcoming summer break with the other parent? If not, now is the time to do so! You should broach the topic of the upcoming break with the other parent now and mention any trips you’d like to take with your child(ren) and any changes you foresee to the school year routine. You should bring up your summer custody plans even if you and the other parent are still residing in the same household and your separation from the other parent is fairly recent.
If you and the other parent are in agreement about what your child’s summer vacation custody schedule will look like, our office would still recommend that you and the other parent enter into a custody consent order. If you and the other parent seem to be disagreeing about the summer custody schedule the sooner you speak with a child custody attorney, the better. An experienced child custody lawyer can help you resolve this issue.
As with any visitation schedule the guiding principle under Pennsylvania law concerning child custody is ‘the best interests of the child’. 23 Pa C.S.A. § 5328. When it comes to parents splitting time with their child this summer this principle still applies. Where parents agree on a custody schedule a court is unlikely to intervene. Where parents disagree, the court will use this principle to determine the best summer break custody schedule for your child(ren).