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Ten Tips to Have the Best Summer Parenting Time

Child Support

woman carrying child on back

1. Check your court order during spring. Many court orders include a provision requiring parents to give each other some type of notice when they want to spend time with their children during the summer. The common deadline is May 1. And of course, don’t forget to give notice.

2. Even if you have given timely notice, take that extra step and be courteous. Discuss your plans or at least share your plans. Think about it, if you plan a weekend to Chicago, and so is your ex, your kids will not be happy.

3. When you reach an agreement regarding parenting time, make sure you have it in writing. This can be as simple as an e-mail to your ex: “thank you for talking to me about the summer. It is my understanding that we agreed to XYZ parenting time. Can you please let me know that we are on the same page about this plan?”

4. If you are not able to reach an acceptable agreement regarding summer parenting time, contact an attorney as soon as possible. A motion to enforce or a motion to request parenting time can be filed, but realistically, it will take weeks or sometimes months to get an order.

5. Schedule a time to discuss extracurriculars. Topics of discussion could be which extracurriculars, how each of these extracurriculars will impact each parent’s parenting time, how you will manage transportation to and from, and who will pay for the activity or how you share that expense.

6. Try to discuss your child’s routines. Children excel when they have a consistent routine. If children go to bed at your house at 7:00 PM, and the next few days at your ex’s house, they go to bed at 10:00 PM, they are constantly adjusting and end up with a lack of sleep and will be ornery all the time.

7. Keep education in mind: Summer can be a wonderful time for educational activities as well. Encourage your children to read, participate in educational programs, and explore new interests. Again, your child will benefit from co-parenting. If they sign up for the library’s reading program, both parents need to encourage reading at their home.

8. Make time for yourself but try to schedule that when your children are with the other parent. When the children are with you, you will be 100% busy, 100% of the time. You can’t keep that up all summer, and you should schedule downtime and fun events for you when the children are with the other parent.

9. When you are traveling out of state or for a longer period of time, let your ex know. Many court orders require you to notify your ex when you travel out of state, and regardless of your court order, this is a common courtesy.

10. If you do not have summer parenting time, consider asking your ex for more time. They have the option to agree, and if they refuse, you have the option of filing a motion. Your attempt to resolve this without going to court will show the judge that you are reasonable. Spending time with your children during the summer will allow you to bond in a different and fun way. Spending a week or weekend on vacation with your children is something you will never regret.

If you do not get to spend time with your children this summer or have questions about summer parenting time, contact the experienced child custody attorneys at Kraayeveld Law at 616-285-0808. We gladly start that conversation with you to get an order for summer parenting time.