This week Your Legal Corner discusses “Summer and child custody.”
Spring is officially here! Time to begin the annual ritual of planting flowers, mulching and fertilizing. Mornings will start with birds singing and fairly soon even the thunderous crack of our favored team’s baseball bat may now be heard as yet another baseball season commences.
Importantly, spring also means finalizing summer plans with your family. For children of divorced parents, summer vacations may be a point of contention and stress if the necessary steps to reach a summer parenting agreement are not taken.
As we all know, divorce does not end a parent’s involvement in his or her child’s life. In fact, statistics demonstrate how well a child adjusts following a divorce is largely tied to how well parents are able to cooperate with each other. Consider these important issues when making your summer plans.
No matter the age of the children at the time of divorce, a divorce agreement should provide for a parenting plan that includes summer vacation. If a child is an infant, the plan will be a relatively straightforward division of time. Alternatively, when a child is a teenager, you may need to consider the teen’s schedule and needs as well. The more specificity a parenting plan contains, the less likely there will be issues in the future.
Summer schedules are much different than during a school year. There are typically more activities, games and social events. Keeping an old fashion calendar or utilizing a visitation app on your cellphone will help keep track of your parenting plan.
Parenting plans should provide a timeframe to notify the other about summer vacation plans. Typically, a parent should give at least (60) sixty days notice regarding their vacation plans. This gives the other parent time to plan their own vacation with the children.
Parenting Time and Child Support
Assuming a shared custody arrangement, summer parenting time may or may not alter a child support order. In most cases, parenting time cannot be withheld and child support must still be paid regardless of disputes between the parties. Notably, parents should always try to exercise their parenting time schedule because parental contact will significantly impact the emotional needs of the child.
Interference with Parenting Time
Misunderstandings and miscommunications regarding parenting time are extremely common. Sometimes changes are inevitable. Always try to be reasonable. One should always attempt to resolve disputes themselves or through mediation before resorting to court or police intervention.
A party may file an application with the court to enforce his or her parenting time. However, if necessary, one can also file an incident report or even a criminal complaint with the police for visitation interference.
Summer and vacations are where memories are made. The key to ensuring that this summer, child custody/vacations go as planned is to communicate early and often!
Till next time, God bless, keep smiling, when Your Legal Corner will discuss “Top real-estate legal tips.” Victoria M. Dalton is a dedicated Family/Elder Law Attorney with the Law Offices of Hoffman DiMuzio. Email correspondence to [email protected] or call 856-845-8243.
Please note that Your Legal Corner was created to provide educational material about the law and is not legal advice.