Family of four walking along the beach side.With the release of schools in South Carolina, and temperatures on the rise, many parents may experience the same feelings of panic. Now that your kids aren’t occupied all day by their school and teachers, what are you going to do with them for an entire summer?! That panic can increase to an all-new level when you factor in the complication of co-parenting. It’s hard enough to schedule camps, play-dates, childcare, and vacations when you live in a two-parent home but what happens when you have to coordinate an entire summer while taking into account a shared custody schedule?

If you have a Custody Order in place, now is the time to refresh your memory on the summer custody provisions. If you don’t have anything in place to create rules and guidelines with the other parent, now is the time to consider having one drafted up or deciding if you should take that next step through the court system. A well-drafted custody order can answer all of your summertime parenting issues. Either way, it’s important to communicate with the other parent to make sure that you, the other parent, and your kids are all on the same page and don’t stumble into the common summer co-parenting pitfalls.

Here are some common summer co-parenting issues to consider:

Activities

How are you going to keep your kids occupied for the summer break from school? You may be planning to fill weeks with camps, playdates, or other childcare options. However, your regular parenting and visitation schedule may look different than it does during the school year. Make sure that you are consulting with the other parent before scheduling anything during their custody time with the kids. Another consideration you may need to address is how to pay for summer activities. They might be divided equally, or one parent may have to pay a majority of the expense. There might be a provision in your Custody Order that requires the parents to mutually agree on all activities and share in the related expenses. While you are eager to plan your kids’ summer activity schedule, it is critical that you are following the rules before you book that sleepaway camp in Lake Wylie, South Carolina!

Vacations

The number one vacation destination during the summer is the beach, and we have plenty of them between South Carolina and North Carolina. Before you book that hotel and pack your bags, you need to make sure that you are abiding by the terms regarding the summer vacation section of your Custody Order. Do you need to give the other parent a certain amount of notice of your summer vacation time with the kids? Do you need to provide a location as to where the children will be when travelling? And if you don’t have a custody order dictating the rules of summer vacation with the kids, you may want to know what the other parent has planned. No one wants their vacation ruined, or their security deposit on the perfect beach destination wasted, by overlapping plans or not following the terms of your Order.

Overall, the key takeaway is that a well-planned summer is sure to be a fun summer. It’s important to consult your Order or parenting plan to make sure you are following the rules before it’s too late. If you don’t have a custody order in place, there is no time like the present to make sure those summertime blues and unanswered custody questions don’t get you down. If you have any concerns regarding your summer co-parenting issues, consulting with a family law attorney is a good first step to making sure you are creating summertime memories and ensuring a fun-filled summer for your family.

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When I opened the doors to Sodoma Law in 2008, it was with the intention of building a different kind of firm. When I started to put together the team, I focused on creating a culture unlike any other I had encountered: a “firm family” that showed commitment to our clients, to our team and to our community. Over time, this concept has become known as “The Sodoma Way.”

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