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Time to make summer child custody plans?

There may still be a chill in the air, but it is never too soon to start coordinating with your ex about summer plans with the kids. Whether your plans include camps, activities or relaxing at home, it is easier to start the discussion earlier rather than later.

For the most part, you and your ex may have already decided who will do what with the children over the summer and where the kids will get to spend their time. As summer gets closer, you may find yourself wanting to make a change in the custody agreement.

Here is what you need to know about making summer plans with your children and your ex.

Understand that you both may want to make special plans

Many families reserve summers to be able to take unique vacations so that the children do not have to miss school. With children getting anywhere from two to three months off in the summer, there is plenty of time for both parents to be able to plan something special.

Even though you may want to plan something special, try not to turn it into a competition. Simply make your plans, include your children in the planning as much as possible and enjoy your time together. Trying to one-up your ex or asking which special trip was “the best” or their “favorite” will only taint your beautiful summer memories.

Communication is critical

Remember to be respectful of each other as you plan your time. Start talking now so that if one of you is proposing something that only happens on a specific date, the other can be more flexible.

If you are going on a trip, remember that your ex may want updates and pictures to be able to talk to your children about their adventures when they return. Let your ex know what to expect for communication with the children while they are away.

The better your communication is this time, the easier it will be to make plans next time. This is the time to establish good habits about planning and communicating what you want.

All changes need to go through the court

The custody arrangement you have may not be carved in stone, but it is an important legal decision. To make sure that everyone’s expectations are clear, you need to make any changes official.

While there may not seem to be any conflict at the time you are making summer arrangements, all it takes is one misunderstanding to land everyone in trouble. Violations of the custody agreement can turn into serious charges that could impact future arrangements.

It may seem like it is not worth it to get changes approved through the court. The initial process may have been messy and cumbersome. Fortunately, if both of you agree on the changes to be made for your summer schedule, the court is likely to approve the plan. Getting an official change now is easier than dealing with accusations of violating the order later.

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