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Adjusting parenting time and custody for the school year

Summer is a beautiful time to enjoy bonding with your children. You and your former spouse may have each taken an opportunity to travel with your children at some point. Vacations, holidays and weekend cookouts can all be the basis of great memories for years to come. However, if you're in the process of getting divorced, you may need to look at your parenting plan and visitation schedule to ensure it remains fair.

In most circumstances, courts want to see visitation and shared custody arrangements that facilitate healthy relationships between the children and both parents. With exceptions for situations involving abuse, addiction or neglect, the best interest of the children usually lies in having healthy and positive ongoing relationships with both parents. Working together to create an acceptable parenting plan shows the courts that you are putting the needs of your children first during divorce.

Full-time school reduces free time for family fun

The truth is that there simply won't be as much free time to split up during the school year. You and your spouse need to find a way to make shared custody work. Perhaps you alternate weeks picking the kids up from school for completely shared, 50/50 custody. Maybe one of you spends every weeknight with the kids and the other typically spends the weekend or every other weekend with them. Every family has different demands, schedules and needs. Try to be flexible and to remember that your children need both of their parents.

If possible, try to work to reach a place where you and your spouse can both attend critical functions, like parent-teacher conferences or school plays without any issue. Ideally, your children will have two fully engaged parents advocating for the best possible educational outcome. Good co-parenting communication and compromise will be critical to the success of your arrangements. If you can remind each other about important assignments or upcoming special events, you will both be there to encourage and support your children throughout the educational process.

Holidays and vacations need to be considered, too

When you're planning for the school year, don't forget the holidays. Will you rotate holidays or share them? Do you want every other holiday this year, or all of them every other year? Will you split winter vacation or will the children stay with one parent for the whole break? All of these considerations are important to decide ahead of time. The more you work out now, the lower the potential for disagreements and confusion in the future.

Co-parenting can be difficult, but it doesn't need to be. With careful planning and little compromise, you can make it work during and after your divorce. Your children need you to put aside your personal issues with your spouse and focus on providing continued, consistent parenting.

A family law attorney can explain what your options are and help you make child custody decisions that are right for you and your children.

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