As an experienced divorce lawyer on Long Island, I have seen that the summer vacation period can be a very stressful period for parents, especially those who are divorced or separated. The summer vacation period, that is, the period of time that our children are off from school beginning around the middle or the end of June until around Labor Day (with some school districts having students returning just before and others just after the Holiday) can be the cause of much stress for parents, especially those parents who are separated or divorced.
Dozens of decisions about child-rearing have to be made with your former spouse, such as:
- What should the schedule be?
- Who will watch the kid(s) while I am at work?
- What activities will he / she / they participate in?
- Who will take him / her / them to their activities?
- Should our child(ren) attend camp?
- Who is responsible for paying for the cost?
- Will my vacation conflict with my child(ren)’s other parent?
- And many more….
An experienced Long Island Divorce lawyer or Long Island Family Law Attorney should be able to guide his or her clients toward making intelligent decisions about how to share the child(ren), their activities and the costs during this time.
What are My Options?
Whether your custodial arrangement is joint or sole or even shared, the Summer Vacation period affords parents options that the more stringent requirements of the school schedule do not. For example, while some parents will adhere to a schedule in which the children sleep only in the custodial parent’s home on school nights, during the Summer, many of those parents will agree to share the summer vacation time. Some parents will share the children a week at a time, or split the week days and continue alternating weekends, while some parents will actually go day to day. Some parents will go month to month with one parent having the children for July and the other for August. This option is popular among parents who live far apart (such as a situation where one of the parents move off Long Island or out of state).
What is important to understand that since the children do not have to be up at a particular time to go to school the next day and since they do not have homework to complete, you can be more flexible with the schedule.
Child Care Options
If you are a teacher (with summers off) or a domestic engineer (stay-at-home parent or primary caretaker), you probably don’t worry about child care during the summer because you care for your children during the summer the same way you do during the school year. However, if both parents are employed, the summer vacation period can pose a dilemma.
Some parents are fortunate enough to have grandparents who are retired and local who can watch the children. Other parents will send the children away for the summer to visit an aunt or an uncle off Long Island or out off the country. Other parents will employ traditional child care either in or outside the home while others will enroll the children in a number of activities and camps to keep them occupied in supervised activities. Some parents are able to mirror their schedules so that when one is working the other is off and vice versa.
If you are not fortunate enough to have a relative or neighbor who can watch your children, and, you cannot mirror your schedules, then, you will likely incur some cost for child care. This is where you will need the services of a good Long divorce lawyer or Long Island child custody Attorney.
A good divorce lawyer on Long Island should ensure the cost of child care or camp in this situation should be shared in proportion to the parents’ respective incomes. For example, if the parents have equal incomes, then, they will share the expense equally, however, if one parent earns twice that of the other, that parent will pay 2/3 and the other parent will pay 1/3 of the cost.
When possible, parents should share the responsibility of transporting the children back and forth to child care, camp and/or their activities. One parent can drop the children off in the morning and the other can pick them up in the afternoon. Or, if the parents have a week on week off type of schedule, one week the parent who has the children will provide transportation and next week the other parent will when they have the children. Again, one parent should not shoulder the entire responsibility, if possible.
The Summer Vacation period also affords parents an opportunity to take the children away to explore new adventures. Whether it is a European vacation, a trip to Disney, a cruise, a rental on the shore, etc., taking your children away is good for their development and can serve as a well-deserved reward for a getting good grades or other good behavior throughout the school year.
Parents should be excited for the children to be going away, even it is with the other parent. Your child custody or divorce lawyer on Long Island should be able to help you craft a schedule that affords you the opportunity to take your children on vacation at least once during the summer. Of course this also means you need to make arrangements with your spouse regarding appropriate notice provisions, passport access provisions, itinerary provisions, etc. And, if your attorney does not suggest any of the aforementioned to you when working out your parenting plan, it is safe to say you should seek another opinion.
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If you have questions about making a summer parenting plan with your child or children’s other parent, consult with an experienced Long Island divorce lawyer. Long Island’s Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., PC’s compassionate and experienced divorce attorneys can help. Call us at 631-923-1910 for a complimentary, confidential consultation or fill out the short form on this page and we’ll get right back to you
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