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Divorced parents should plan ahead for summer vacation

With summer fast approaching, if you haven't made plans with your ex for how you will share custody and visitation of your kids, you should do it as soon as possible. If you detailed how summer custody is shared in your parenting plan, this should make things go more smoothly.

However, as kids get older and family dynamics change (perhaps with the addition of one or more significant others or one parent moving some distance away), parenting plans may need some modifications to how summers, holidays and other vacations are treated. It's also easier for older kids to split summers in half between their two parents than younger kids, who may not want to be away from their custodial parent for more than a couple of weeks.

Sometimes, divorced co-parents who have a good relationship prefer not to stick to strict schedules. However, it's good for kids to know what to expect. Summer is a big deal for them. They want to know where they'll be and what they'll be doing so that they can join in conversations with friends discussing their summer plans. As kids get older, it's a good idea for parents to consider their wishes when making summer plans.

If you're a working parent who will have custody of your children for a significant part of the summer, you'll need to make child care arrangements or enroll them in camp (either a day camp or one that's away from home.) You and your co-parent will need to work out how related expenses will be covered, if it's not already detailed in your child support agreement.

If you plan to take your kids on vacation this summer, coordinate your plans with your co-parent. Unless they want to spend two vacations in the Ozarks or Disney World (which they may), you will likely want to plan different destinations.

Most of us still have fond memories of our childhood summer vacations. Your children should be allowed to make special summer memories as well. Their summers shouldn't be marred by conflict and confusion between their parents. If you're having issues with your co-parent regarding summer custody and visitation, talk with your Illinois family law attorney.

Source: Coparently, "Co-Parenting Through the Summer," accessed April 27, 2018

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