Divorced parents must actively manage their success when facing a child’s summer break from school. No matter the age of the child or the years post-divorce, parents must take an active role when preparing for lengthy school breaks rather than simply reacting to problems as they arise.
While each family unit is unique, there are some common tips that could potentially help divorced parents on the path toward a successful, productive summer break, including:
- Discuss how the parenting plan impacts vacations: While the parenting plan was likely discussed, negotiated and compromised on during the divorce process, it is important to revisit the provisions as they relate to vacations. Does the other parent object to international travel? How will a vacation impact visitation? How is the vacation’s cost handled? Work out these questions well in advance of the summer break to ensure proper planning.
- Discuss costs and responsibilities with your former spouse: Directly following the first tip, you should discuss costs and responsibilities in the parenting plan as they relate to school breaks. Aside from vacations and summer activities such as swim class, sports activities and camps, extended school breaks can mean added expenses for food, clothing and play.
- Allow the children to relax: Without homework and school responsibilities, some parents struggle to keep the summer break a productive adventure. It couldn’t hurt to discuss the strategy with your ex-spouse, but many parents find it best to allow the children to relax a bit during vacation. This could run contrary to the parenting plan, however, as it relates to screen time and extracurricular activities – therefore, it is wise to discuss your intent prior to the break.
- Be flexible if the family needs change: It is important to see the previous tips from the perspective of your former spouse. If the other parent comes to you with questions, suggestions or favors, it is wise to be flexible and work to amend the parenting plan as needed because it could be you asking for revisions next summer.
Whether embroiled in the divorce process itself or adapting to post-divorce changes to spending power and debt responsibility, parents often find numerous new challenges in their daily lives. When the family unit was whole, school vacations could often be a welcome change of pace. After divorce, however, these lengthy breaks often represent a time management challenge