single mom summer

Avoiding Common Summer Custody Issues

Summer comes with the promise of sunshine, vacations, and a break from the regular school schedule. However, for separated or divorced parents, it can also bring some unique challenges in terms of child custody arrangements. This article provides an overview of these issues and offers practical advice for effective co-parenting during the summer months.

What Co-Parenting & Custody Issues Arise During the Summer?

Common issues that can arise between co-parents concerning custody during summer vacation include:

  • Out-of-state or out-of-country travel. Summer is synonymous with vacations, which often involve travel. However, when one parent wants to take their child out of state or country, it can present significant legal and relational challenges. For instance, if the agreement does not permit out-of-state or international travel without the other parent's consent, violating this term can lead to legal consequences. It is in your best interest to inform the other parent about travel, even if you plan to travel during your court-ordered custodial time, and provide detailed information about the trip, including the duration, location, and contact details.
  • Visitation schedule disagreements. The flexibility of summer schedules often leads to disagreements over visitation times. One parent may wish to extend their time due to vacation plans or special events, disrupting the usual routine. However, parents must adhere to their court-ordered visitation schedule.
  • Withholding court-ordered visitation or ignoring other court orders. Unfortunately, some parents may choose to ignore court orders or withhold scheduled visitation time during the summer. Such actions can strain the co-parenting relationship and negatively impact the child. It is also important to note that such actions are punishable by the court, and the party withholding visitation, failing to pay child support, or violating court orders in other ways can be found in contempt. If you find yourself in this situation, document every instance where the other parent violates the custody agreement. This documentation will be crucial if you need to return to court.

Child Custody Tips for Summer Vacation

You can avoid these common summertime custody issues. Here are some helpful tips to do so:

  • Review your parenting plan. The legal framework around child custody recognizes that summer is different from the school year. Children may have camps, special vacations, or even summer school. Consequently, the custody agreement that works during the school year may not work during the summer, which is why parents can outline a different schedule/custody arrangement during the summer months. Revisit your holiday schedule and parenting plan to ensure you are prepared for summertime changes. It is also important to review your parenting plan as it may include provisions concerning travel and communication.
  • Prioritize the best interest of the child. Amidst the excitement and upheaval of summer schedules, it is easy for parents to inadvertently prioritize their own plans over their child's best interests. It is essential to remember that all custody arrangements should be made with the child's welfare at the forefront. This includes considering their emotional well-being, routine, and the continuity of their relationships with both parents.
  • Plan ahead and communicate. Communication is the cornerstone of effective co-parenting. Discuss summer plans with the other parent well in advance to avoid any last-minute conflicts. This includes vacation schedules, summer activities, and any changes in daily routines. Such early planning allows for smooth transitions and less stress for all involved.
  • Ensure child support payments are maintained. Summer can disrupt the regular flow of life, including financial obligations like child support payments. It's important to ensure these payments don't slip through the cracks. Both parents must understand their responsibilities and make sure they're fulfilled, regardless of any changes in custody arrangements.
  • Remember you have options if court orders are ignored. You can take legal action to enforce your court-ordered agreement. Talk with our experienced attorney to discuss your legal options.

High-Quality Representation from an Experienced Family Law Attorney

With over a decade of legal experience, Matthew Penick Law offers clients personalized solutions for their child custody matters. Whether you need help modifying existing orders or filing an initial petition, our Maryland attorney can offer you sound counsel.

To schedule a free initial consultation, contact our firm online or via phone (410) 618-0863.