Child Custody & Visitation: Summertime DO’s and DON’Ts

When you break any custody visitation issue to it’s simplest point it comes down to the golden rule: Treat others as you would be treated. This goes for communicating and compromising on summer plans and all co-parenting situations. It is important to realize that this doesn’t just apply to your co-parent though. Especially when in the midst of a custody dispute, parents need to make sure they are thinking about what’s best for their kids, not just their own desires.

Summer parenting schedules can be trickier than school year schedules because they can lack the rigidity and predictability of the set school schedule. Our FPS Legal Team assembled the following DO’s and DON’Ts for making the most summertime visitation.

DO: communicate with your co-parent at least two months before the school year ends regarding planned activities with the kids during the break to iron out conflicts and square away schedules.

DON’T: withhold any information from your co-parent regarding travel plans with the kids, including flight numbers, hotels, travel itineraries, and phone numbers where the kids will be staying during the planned travel.

DO think ahead. Summer brings all sorts of schedule changes if you have school-aged kids. If there is something changing that you need addressed by the courts, remember you won’t be able to address the issue the day/week/month before.

DON’T wait till the last minute regarding the above situations.

DO give as much notice as possible to your co-parent regarding changes. Can conflicts be accommodated and/or avoided?

DON’T expect your co-parent to accommodate you without willing to be flexible yourself. Summer break should be fun, not stressful because of feuding parents.

DO: consider any special plans of your co-parent during the break, like family weddings or reunions, when confirming your parenting schedules for the break. Those events should in most cases take priority, particularly if your own plans can be more fluid in terms of timing.

DON’T: get the children excited about a special summer trip before you have confirmed your summer schedule with your co-parent. If those plans have to be changed, your kids will be needlessly disappointed.

DO: keep your kids and their summer experience top of mind. Summer break should not be a source of stress for them due to a parental conflict.

DON’T: forget the last DO. Let your kids have a fun and relaxing break.

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ABOUT THE FIRM: FORESTER PURCELL STOWELL PC is a Northern California law firm focused exclusively on specialized counsel for complex divorce and family law issues. Its shareholders are Certified Family Law Specialists, recognized by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization. The firm regularly represents business owners, professionals, and other high net worth individuals (or their spouses) in divorce, custody disputes, premarital agreements, and related actions. Attorneys can be reached at or 916 293 4000. This information is general in nature and should not be construed as legal advice.
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