Custody and parenting: Make sure your plan includes summer terms

When Washington parents file for divorce, it is common to encounter challenges regarding family issues, such as where the children will live and how their financial needs will be met in the future. No two custody and parenting situations are exactly the same. The good thing is that co-parents may tailor their agreements to fit their own circumstances and ultimate post-divorce goals.

Problems often arise during summer months because many co-parents neglect to incorporate specific terms and instructions for the eight or so weeks when their children are on vacation from school. It is quite common for both co-parents to work full-time outside their homes, which can make it tricky to devise a plan that fits in with both work schedules while providing for the daily supervision needs of the children involved. There are several things parents can do to avoid summer stress in a co-parenting situation.

As with most child-related topics in divorce, it is always best to get a court order and to write out terms that clearly define which parent is responsible for what and how unexpected parenting time situations will be handled. If parents don't even discuss what their kids will be doing during the summer, they shouldn't then be surprised if conflict arises when kids want to go to camp or a particular parent wants to take them on vacation. In short, a thorough, carefully devised summer schedule can help avoid confusion and discord.

Washington parents who are willing to work as a team have the greatest chance of avoiding summertime disputes. Expenses tend to increase during summer, so it pays to discuss finances ahead of time. If possible, sharing the cost of summer-related activities may be the best way to go. Expecting one parent to foot the entire bill may not only be unfair, but it can discord between the parents as well. If legal issues regarding custody and parenting arise during the summer, an experienced family law attorney can help pursue a swift and fair solution to the problem.

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