Children are looking forward to a long summer break with schools ending their academic year. Some are already free of the academic grind, while others anxiously await their release. While parents determine scheduling plans over the next three months, many of those students will find themselves going back and forth between two homes.
Ex-spouses entering their first post-divorce summer break and unaccustomed to the warmer weather routines that come with co-parenting may feel the stress and sadness that comes with monumental change.
Preexisting settlement agreements can help ease them into the new normal, if not help them sidestep disputes while putting the best interests of their kids at the forefront. The challenge is to provide equal access when it comes to vacations and holidays, including Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day.
The devil is in the details to minimize the uncertainty felt by children. Without an agreement covering all aspects of summer events, confusion and misunderstandings are probable yet can lead to heated disputes between exes. Thorough documentation detailing who has the children and when, pickup and drop-off locations, and detailed travel itineraries are paramount, as are additional expenses related to camps and childcare.
Plans may change, and couples will have to account for last-minute issues. Again, cooperation can avoid contention with all family members enjoying the summer break.
Adapting to a new normal
The most in-depth planning can still result in certain challenges when adapting from one home to two, requiring sacrifice by the parents. A major part of the post-divorce process is sacrifice. Annual July 4th gatherings are likely to be divided between households every other year. Even vacations will mean children being away for a significant amount of time.
Over time, the emotional wounds from divorce will heal, but only with a cooperative environment where both parents are focused on their children’s best interests.