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3 Tips for Managing Child Custody in Summer

by | May 25, 2021 | News and Events

Summer is just around the corner, and some separated parents may be planning trips or vacations with their children, especially now that COVID-19 restrictions are easing. Summer activities are also very different from school schedules, whether these arrangements entail taking an extended trip or letting children stay with a non-custodial parent for an entire week instead of just the usual weekend.

Parents who have joint custody of their children can find it difficult to accommodate these shifting schedules to ensure that they are able to spend quality time with their children. Here’s how custody and visitation works on Long Island during the summer.

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The Basic Differences Between School-Year Child Custody & Summer Child Custody

During the academic year, the parent who has fewer days with their child — typically called the non-custodial parent — is usually allowed more time in the summer to spend with them to help equalize the amount of time children spend with both parents. Maintaining a relationship with your children over the summer is crucial, especially if you only have a few hours or days per week of visitation with them during the school year.

Summers are when you should have the opportunity to spend more time with your kids; visitation on the weekend simply does not allow for as much time to plan events or cultivate a connection in the same way that longer summer co-parenting visits do.

3 Tips for Managing Child Custody & Visitation In Summer

Here are some simple tips that can help you manage child custody and visitation during the summer:

#1. Make a Summer Co-Parenting Schedule in Advance

If you don’t already have a detailed plan for the summer in your divorce agreement, now is the time to create one. Once you and your ex-spouse have reached an agreement, the amendment, if approved by the judge, would then be your default parenting plan for summers going forward.

#2. Make Regular Contact with Your Co-Parent

Vacations, summer camps, and other warm-weather events may be enjoyable for your family, but you may be restricted as to what you can do or where you can go depending on your current court agreement. This makes it critical to share your plans with your co-parent as soon as possible. Notify them well in advance of any travel plans, or summer events and make sure you’re not violating your existing co-parenting agreement. If you have difficulty communicating with your ex-spouse, you can use mediation to connect, talk, and work through potential solutions before bringing your co-parenting agreement or modification to a judge.

#3. Take Into Account Your Children’s Emotions

When a child is young, even little changes can seem dramatic, so keep that in mind when you schedule your summer activities. Seeing one parent less, living in a new place, or making big changes — even for the better — can be unsettling and emotional. To ensure your children feel safe, talk with them about your upcoming summer plans and help them understand what to expect. If they’re older, they may like to assist you with your planning, or they may have ideas of their own that you might want to think about.

When to Involve a Long Island Family Lawyer in Summer Child Custody & Visitation

When adjusting your regular parenting schedule, keep in mind that child custody is a legal matter. And if you and your co-parent only have verbal or informal agreements, you could end up in legal trouble if you take your child on vacation out of state without consulting your ex-spouse. It’s crucial that you seek the counsel of an experienced Long Island child custody lawyer before making any changes to your summer parenting plan.

Hornberger, Verbitsky, P.C. is a seasoned New York family law firm with an extensive track record of success helping families navigate the challenges of divorce, custody, visitation, child support, and more. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation to discuss your summer co-parenting schedule at 631-923-1910 or fill out the short form below. We’re committed to helping our clients discover the right family legal solutions for their needs, because we truly believe there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for family law issues. We are standing by, ready to assist your family with years of knowledge and skill under our belts.


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At your meeting, your attorney will describe the many options available and determine together which is the right solution for you. By the end of this meeting we’ll all understand how we can best help you to move forward.

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