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Summer break has begun for most school districts throughout Arizona, which often means summer camp, and traveling on vacations for many families. Co-parenting can make summer activities and family trips challenging to work around, with so many “moving parts” that you may need to consider when implementing your plans.

It isn’t just travel arrangements that can create difficulties in the summer. The default parenting order an Arizona divorce with children is often joint or equal parenting time which used to be called joint physical custody. The simple change in schedules due to the summer time plan, can disrupt routines and cause confusion not only for the kids but also the parents.

Many shared parenting agreements are configured in a 5-2-2-5 schedule. In Maricopa County this is the most prevalent plan and parties find it more palatable than any of the other plans. In this division of time, the children spend five nights with one parent and two nights with the other, then alternate each week for an equal number of nights with each parent over a 14-day period. Summertime can wreak havoc with this plan with the interruption of vacations and sleepovers with friends and camp.  Knowing how best to approach these situations will help you prepare and keep your cool when temperatures and tempers rise.

Plan Ahead

Your parenting agreement should include a date by when you and your co-parent  arrange and give notice of your summer vacation plans. If there is no set date or you don’t have a parenting agreement, it would be prudent to address this early in the spring to avoid conflicts.  Both parents ought to make their arrangements as early as possible. It’s also a good idea to consult with each other before committing to anything like hotel reservations or plane tickets. McMurdie Law & Mediation can help you iron out the details of your plans based on how they relate to your shared parenting agreement.

Set Rules, But Be Flexible

Do you and your co-parent have set rules about sleep overs and weekends away during the school year for your children? It would be wise to continue with rules with an observation of flexibility when school is not in session. Consistency is important in your children’s lives, so creating some shared guidelines, however strict or lenient they may be are always helpful for both parents and children’s expectations.

Be flexible with yourselves and each other. Depending on the age of your children, they may have plans of their own. Their schedules will fill up with summer jobs, camps, and social activities as they get older. Adjusting your expectations will help you remain flexible when scheduling issues inevitably come up.

Communicate Effectively

Keeping open and amicable lines of communication with your co-parent is essential for everyone. If you are planning to travel out of state, consult your parenting agreement to see if there are any requirements that you would absolutely want to comply with. Even if there is nothing explicitly stating what you must do in this situation, you should notify the other co-parent about your plans and if out of state or country, definitely in writing. Include the dates, places, people, their phone numbers and email addresses should be shared along with a phone schedule so that the other parent has some communication time with the children and the children can connect with the other parent.

Do you remember how much fun summer break was when you were a kid? Your child is likely experiencing that same excitement and enjoyment during their summer vacation by just getting a break from school. There’s no need to stress about this shared parenting arrangement ruining their summer if you can manage notice, planning and expectations in advance.  Take advantage of the time you have with your children and let them enjoy the time they share with their other parent, too.

At McMurdie Law & Mediation, we understand the importance of quality time between children and parents. We are dedicated to helping you and your co-parent develop a plan that is beneficial to everyone. Call McMurdie Law & Mediation at 480-777-5500 today to schedule a consultation.