Over the next weeks, we will discuss unique divorce-related issues, specific to the quickly approaching summer months. This week, we identify issues that you should consider if you are going through a divorce or separation with children.
If you are going through a divorce or separation with children, you are juggling a lot, especially during the summer months when the kids are not in school. You are either working on coming up with a parenting plan or you are adjusting to a new one while juggling finances, running a home, dealing with summer childcare and activities, as well as your career. The best thing that you and your attorney can do for your family is to be proactive and think ahead.
Despite snowy weather still being in the forecast in Colorado, summer will be here in a flash. If you are going through a divorce or a separation, there are some things that you should consider, before the summer arrives.
Your usual parenting time schedule may be impacted by the fact that school is not in session. If parenting time exchanges generally happen at school drop-off and pick-up, you will need to consider alternative arrangements. You may also want to discuss a parenting time schedule that differs from what you have during the school year. For example, if you have a 50/50 5-2-2-5 parenting schedule during the school year, you may want to consider a parenting schedule with fewer exchanges during the summer, such as a week-on, week-off schedule. Doing so may reduce the complications of enrolling your children in summer camps and activities that generally run for a week at a time.
If you are a parent to young children, your children will probably need some type of childcare. Depending on your parenting schedule and whether or not you and your co-parent are planning on using the same childcare provider, securing childcare may take some time. Your search should begin as soon as possible, as should discussions regarding the sharing of the cost of childcare between co-parents.
If you have school-aged children, you will likely need to secure full or part-time childcare during the summer. Whether your summer childcare plans involve traditional daycare or day camps and extracurricular activities, these expenses can add up. You should discuss with your attorney how these expenses might be shared with your co-parent.
Additionally, If your children are involved in extracurricular activities, they often have summer obligations, including sports camps, theater groups, or summer classes. If you share joint decision-making with your co-parent, you should make sure that you are on the same page about your children’s summer activities and who will be responsible for transporting your children to and from their various activities well in advance of summer break.
Ideally all of these things should be contemplated in a well-drafted Parenting Plan, which becomes a Court order, to avoid disagreements between you and your co-parent. Without a well-drafted Parenting Plan, the same areas of contention frequently arise each and every summer.
Parents usually set some time aside each summer for family vacations. Whether you intend to stay in state and take your children up to the mountains, or if you plan to take them somewhere outside of the state or country, you should make sure that you have discussed these dates and arrangements with your co-parent.
You should also discuss with your attorney any other procedures or logistics that you need to be aware of before your vacation time arrives. For example, some activities require releases to be signed; will you need your co-parents signature? Likewise, if you plan to travel out of the country, some borders require written permission from your co-parent for you to cross their borders with your children; will it be difficult to obtain your co-parent’s signature? Planning ahead can help avoid last minute situations that would impede your summer or travel plans with your children.