If your child recently handed you a field trip permission slip, you may have experienced a reality check. The Arizona school year is almost over, and the kids will be starting their summer vacation in a matter of weeks. In the past, this may have been no big deal. However, now that you are divorced, you have a parenting time schedule to consider.
You certainly have ideas for what to do with your kids this summer. Maybe you have already put in for vacation time at work so you can take the children to the beach or a favorite camping site. Have you checked with your ex about these plans? It is possible he or she has similar arrangements, and for the sake of the children and the peaceful summer you imagine, it is critical that you and your ex get together and work out your plans for the summer.
Planning to avoid conflicts
The most carefully crafted parenting plan can fall apart during the randomness of summer. You may feel that you have the right to make whatever arrangements you want, and your ex may feel the same way. However, the ones who lose in this situation are the children who may feel caught between the two of you or who may miss adventures because of scheduling conflicts. Remember that a weeklong vacation is not the only potential change in your parenting plan. Summer may present opportunities for these and other events:
- Day trips, such as picnics or visits to the park
- Birthdays or other family gatherings
- Overnight visits with friends
- Sports or other activities in which the children participate
- Summer camps
- Celebrations such as Fourth of July fireworks
Some of these events you may even wish to attend together, so it may be important to work out the logistics. In any case, you and your ex may find your summer goes more smoothly if you are able to meet with calendars and day planners to coordinate your schedules before any plans are set in stone. A spirit of cooperation is always in the best interests of the children, and you may be fortunate if you can work things out as a team.
Remember that any alterations you make to your court-approved parenting plan will not have the backing of the court, so you may wish to seek legal advice before agreeing to any drastic changes.