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Summer Parenting

During summer school break, the questions of "what do to with the kids" is often a more difficult challenge with divorced or separated parents. There are several issues that arise with issues of both the parenting schedule as well as legal custody that should be considered. As with any parenting issue, parents must first carefully read their court orders and agreements as it often holds the answer to these questions.

Below a few of the more common questions are answered:

  • Can I take a vacation with my children? Generally, parents are allowed some amount of vacation time with the children during the summer. The amount is determined by agreement or court order. However, whether or not there is a specific vacation order, parties are free to take trips or vacations with their children, so long as the vacation does not take away the other parent's parenting time. The current orders should be specific enough to determine each parent's right of vacation time.
  • Can I travel with my children? Without specific restrictions, parents are generally allowed to travel within the United States with the children. It is good practice, and often ordered, to give the other parent information about where they will be staying, any flight information and any other basic travel information. "Day trips" with the children do not generally carry the same notice requirements. For parents who want to travel internationally with the children, there are other considerations regarding passports, destination, and length of trips that may require more discussion, or specific orders.
  • Can I enroll my children in summer camp? Whether to enroll the children in summer camp, and which summer camps, is an issue of legal custody that should be decided jointly (assuming there is joint legal custody). For many parents, summer camp is a necessity in order to work in the summer, and most programs would not be objectionable. However, it should be discussed and agreed up to ensure the individual program is in the best interest of the children.
  • Who is going to pay for summer camp or child care? The payment of the program is often determined by the type of program and the need for daycare versus enrichment program. Some agreements included summer camp as an expense to be shared equally, while others state that each party will pay for their own care during their parenting weeks. How these expenses is divided is based largely on the circumstances of parties such as the parenting schedule, financial status, and needs of the children.

As with many custody issues, the summer parenting issues are different based upon the specific facts of the situation and needs of the parties. Each family's situation is different, although we have tried to provide some general guidelines. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your specific situation.

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