Summer can be a difficult time for Arizona parents, especially those who are newly divorced. You may have had a set schedule during the school year, but now everything has changed. Summer is challenging as it is, but how do you cope when you have two households?
Creating a summer custody schedule
Shared custody is the most common post-divorce child care arrangement. While you may work well with a one-week on, one-week off, a 2-2-3, or another format, many activities, like vacations, concerts, special outings and more, happen over the summer that generally don’t occur during the rest of the year. You’ll need to consider many different factors and listen to your co-parent to come up with a solution. Start discussions early so you can have time to negotiate. Consider the following points when you meet to discuss your summer parenting schedule:
- Look at your personal schedule and those of your children to decide which ones you want to attend
- Communicate your high-priority needs to your co-parent for time alone or with the kids
- Negotiate to attend high-priority family events
- Don’t make premature plans and expect them to last
Whatever you decide, remember to be flexible and keep communication lines open. You can approach summer co-parenting in a manner similar to the way you did when determining your school-year parenting schedule.
Reaching a mutually satisfying decision
Think about how you reached your original parenting plan following your divorce. Eventually, you were able to work out an agreement that became satisfactory for everyone. If you need help through mediation or another form of conflict resolution, that path may be open to you again. Always keep in mind that your children’s welfare should be foremost in summer parenting decisions. Expect some give and take.
Another thing you should keep in mind is that summer co-parenting agreements are short-lived, lasting two or three months at the most. If your co-parent has moved far away, you may want to allow your children to spend the summer with them, especially if they don’t see the other parent frequently during the school year.