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How to prepare for summer parenting time changes

Although it is only April, it is never too early to prepare for summer vacations in Ohio. Divorced and separated parents may have disagreements about how to organize time with children as summer sports leagues, day camps and family vacations can easily complicate a child's schedule. With so many potential activities, inflexible parents may be in for a difficult summer.

Even with the potential for summer blowups, there are ways to prepare for unforeseen hiccups.

The easiest step is to review your custody decree or parenting time order. These documents often have rules (or provisions) that give broad guidance about where children will be, as well as problem solving mechanisms (i.e. consulting with a parenting time expeditor or counselor).

Next, you could contact the other parent and offer a compromise. This could be especially helpful if planned well in advance. It could be as simple as offering a different exchange venue (or time). For more complicated issues (like exchanging parenting time days or weeks) a written plan would be useful.

Also, be wary of how compensatory parenting time works. If for some reason the parenting agreement is broken, the most common remedy is additional parenting time (in the future) to compensate for missed time. Knowing this will help calm frayed nerves if something goes wrong.

Most importantly, take solace in knowing that kids want to spend time with both parents, and it generally doesn't matter what the activity may be. Some parents may feel intimidated because they can't always take them to the amusement park every time a child wants to go, or the other parent is taking the child on a lavish vacation. As long as you are around to do the simple things (like drawing pictures or watching movies) things have a way of working out.

Source: ParentDish, Surviving a summer of shared custody, June 10, 2011

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