Summer. It’s almost that time again; time for family vacations, trips to the beach, and barbecues.
But this year is a little different than most: you’re getting divorced.
Instead of planning your yearly trip to Disney, you’re racking your brain trying to figure out how to split the kids’ time – and the holidays – with your ex.
Here are some tips to help you survive summer during a divorce.
1. Start Planning Early
Don’t wait until the last minute to talk to your ex about summer plans. If you’re planning on taking the kids on vacation, discuss this with your ex well before June. Talk about who will get the kids on 4th of July, too, so you can avoid bitter arguments later on down the road.
Trips should be planned well in advance, and make sure that you have a concrete plan before discussing it with your ex. Know exactly where you will be going, when and for how long. But do wait until your ex agrees to purchase the tickets.
2. Be Flexible
If you want your ex to be flexible with you, make sure you’re flexible with him (or her). Don’t give your ex a hard time about taking the kids on vacation unless it’s for a good reason.
The child’s best interests should always come first. Spending quality time with both parents is important, and trips allow kids to do this. Be cooperative, and your ex will be cooperative with you when you want to take the kids out for a special event or trip.
3. Keep the Kids Out of It
Children are perceptive and know a lot more than you may think. Putting them in the middle of your parenting time disputes can lead to stress and resentment. You want summer to be a happy time for kids – not a time to stress about where or who they’ll be spending time with.
4. Plan for Extra Expenses
Summer means warmer weather and more time off for the children. You’ll be spending a lot more time outdoors and doing fun things. More often than not, this means spending more money than usual, so plan for these extra expenses early on.
And if your children attend summer camp, don’t forget to account for this expense as well. Some courts consider camp a necessary childcare expense, so the non-custodial parent may be responsible for contributing to the camp’s cost.
5. Get Input From Your Children
Rather than just telling your children about the summer plans you and your ex agreed on, why not involve them in the planning? Consider asking your children how they would like to spend their time this summer. Do your best to incorporate these ideas where possible, and make a commitment to following through with your plans.
6. Don’t Go Overboard
It’s easy to overdo it when making plans for the summer. Sure, you want to make up for lost time with your children, but trying to pack every single moment together with fun activities can be daunting and overwhelming for them. Try to balance the fun and exciting activities with relaxed visits to avoid undue stress on your children.
One final tip: take some time to recharge when your children are with the other parent. Spend time with friends, indulge yourself in hobbies and allow yourself time to relax and distress.
The Micklin Law Group, LLC is a New Jersey law firm focusing on family law for men and fathers. Attorney Brad Micklin was recently named to The National Advocates list of Top 100 attorneys from each state. Brad has experience working with high asset divorce. You can read more on this topic by visiting our divorce blog. To set up a consultation, call 973-562-0100.