Divorced parents can run into challenges when summer break rolls around, and not just because the children are off school. Kids are more active during the warmer months when the days are long, so their needs are slightly different. New York custody and visitation laws encourage parents to cooperate on these issues, but you may not have included specifics regarding a summer custody schedule when going through the divorce process. The plan that works during the school year may not be appropriate when June rolls around.
As a result, many parents will need to address a separate summer custody schedule that the whole family can support. You can avoid court involvement by working out an agreement, and a New York child custody attorney can assist with the discussion. Some tips on creating a summer custody plan may also be useful.
- Start with a structure. One valuable resource for developing a summer custody schedule is the New York parenting plan guidelines. You do not need to complete the form, but it is helpful for opening a discussion about the plan and outlining the major components. The document is easy to personalize, and it could eventually become part of an official court order if you decide to go through the process.
- Stick with the plan once you reach an agreement. It does no good to come up with a workable compromise if one or both parents do not follow the terms. There may be a period of adjustment, so make sure to include a set date that the summary custody schedule starts. From there, parents need to be committed to the agreement and make it a regular routine.
- Be flexible. While #2 is important, it is also crucial that you both work to accommodate unexpected changes. Unforeseeable circumstances can impact both parents and children, which means remaining flexible and making the necessary adjustments for the benefit of the parent-child relationships.
- Get input from children. Children of the right age and maturity level are often able to express their wants and needs, so they should weigh in on a summer custody schedule. They may be involved in certain activities, want to be around friends, or prefer spending time in one parent’s neighborhood. Listen to their thoughts and consider their wishes when developing a plan. In addition, keep in mind that a summer custody schedule must also comply with New York’s best interests of the child standard. You will need to balance multiple factors to reach an agreement.
- Consider your legal options if you run into obstacles. If you and your child’s other parent cannot agree, you will need to weigh your legal alternatives. You may need to conduct a hearing to modify child custody and visitation for the summer break, since the court’s order for the remaining months of the year will not work for your family. Typically, the process involves filing a petition to modify custody and visitation, along with a proposed schedule. A judge will consider the positions of both parents before making a decision.
Talk to a New York Child Custody Lawyer About Schedules and Parenting Time
Hopefully, these tips will help you and your child’s other parent reach an agreement on how to handle a summer custody schedule. However, it is not always possible to compromise on a plan, so it may be necessary to go before a judge. Whether you need advice on negotiations or representation in court, our team at The Mandel Law Firm is prepared to advocate on your behalf. To set up a consultation with an experienced attorney, please call our Manhattan office at (646) 770-3868 or visit us online.