With warmer months on the horizon, many families will experience a change in routine. For blended and co-parenting families, changes to routine can be difficult to navigate. With more moving parts and considerations, it is not always easy to indulge in summer fun in the same way that nuclear families do.
Whether you are new to co-parenting or are simply looking for tips on how to navigate custody, our team at Stange Law Firm has a wide array of resources available to our clients. We are committed to providing reliable legal counsel that empowers families to make the decisions that are right for them.
Making Schedule Changes
It is possible that a schedule change will make sense for the summer months. If you are looking to alter your schedule but maintain the same proportion of guardianship, it is unlikely that you need to get the courts involved.
For example, suppose you and your co-parents have equal shared custody. You wish to move from one week at one house and one week at the other to two consecutive weeks at each place. That is usually allowed in most circumstances. The court does not need to approve these types of changes. However, both parents must agree to the temporary arrangement. The requirements of your custody agreement must also be met.
Taking summer road trips or vacations is common for many families. If you plan to take a vacation that encroaches on your co-parent’s scheduled time, you should first talk to them about a temporary exception. In many cases, parents are happy to make minor adjustments to accommodate summer fun for their children. You may offer to give them some of your normal days to make up for the vacation absence.
If your co-parent is not flexible, you may need to take the vacation only during your scheduled days. If this is not possible, you can seek approval from the court to bring your child out of town. You should only do this with the help of an attorney.
Many children indulge in additional social time in the summer months. Sleepovers and playdates are common, but they may cut into your time with your child. If you find that you do not have enough one-on-one time with your children during your allotted custody time, you may want to speak with your co-parent about a schedule adjustment. Although it is healthy for children to socialize, it is natural for parents to want to spend extra time with their children during the summer. It can be difficult to find a balance, and you may need to try different tactics before finding one that works.
In all situations, it is beneficial for you to extend patience to your children and co-parent. Changes in routine can be difficult for many people, and the adjustment to summer schedules may be uneasy at first. However, blended families around the country navigate this time every year. The more flexible you can be, the better the situation will turn out.
Making Permanent Custody Changes
In some circumstances, a temporary schedule update does not sufficiently fit a family’s changing needs. As children grow, their schedules and commitments change drastically. When this happens, a permanent change of custody may be appropriate.
Although temporary changes do not need court approval, you should always go through the court when making major custody changes. Modifications need to be approved by a judge to be enforceable. If you attempt to make a permanent modification on your own, you cannot get legal help enforcing the agreement if your co-parent does not follow the new parameters.
Q: Is Co-Parenting More Difficult in the Summer?
A: When children are out of school and have less of a routine, it can be difficult to parent. This is especially true if you must work during the day or need childcare. It is important for co-parents to be flexible during this time while simultaneously protecting their custody rights. If a major issue arises, trust an attorney from Stange Law Firm to help.
Q: Can I Bring My Child on Vacation If I Share Custody?
A: Unless your custody agreement prohibits it, you are permitted to bring your child across state lines on vacation. However, you must adhere to your custody agreement and have the child back for their allotted visitation or custody with their other parent. The exception to this is if you and your child’s other parent make a compromise so that the child can have an extended vacation. Your ability to take vacations largely depends on the flexibility of your co-parent.
Q: How Do I Make Child Custody Changes?
A: Modifications to child custody agreements should be done in family court. If you attempt to make modifications without legal help, the law cannot help you enforce your agreement if something goes wrong. It is safest for all involved to use the court system to make permanent modifications. However, you and your co-parent are allowed to make small schedule changes without the court, as long as your portions of custody comply with your custody agreement.
Q: What Makes a Good Co-Parent?
A: Communication is a top requirement for an effective co-parenting situation. If you and your co-parent have respectful, healthy communication, you will likely have a much easier time raising your child. Flexibility and patience are also helpful, as changes often occur in co-parenting scenarios, especially in the summertime. Remember that your common goal is to support your shared child. To do so, you must work as a team.
Contact Stange Law Firm
For many years, our team at Stange Law Firm has been helping families navigate a wide variety of other family law issues. Our clients trust us to handle cases involving custody, child support, co-parenting, divorce, and more. We are confident that our experience in this area can benefit your family law case. Our team of attorneys are available to help you, no matter how complicated your situation may be.
For more information about our firm, or to schedule a consultation, please contact Stange Law Firm.