Summer is a wonderful time for parents to spend time with their children. It can also become a problem if one or both parents work outside the home and they are trying to find childcare, or one parent wants to spend more time with the child and the other parent objects.
The primary consideration in dividing summer vacation between co-parents is the child’s best interests. Suppose your child is an athlete, for example, or has taken up a sport they enjoy, providing them with physical exercise and mental stimulation. In that case, you may consider prioritizing that activity when dividing summer schedules between both of you.
Another practical way of dividing up time is looking at the both your work schedules and take into consideration whether you work from home or at the office. If one parent works from home, for example, the parents may want to ponder an arrangement that works so both can spend time with the children.
For example, if one of you works from home and one of you works at an office, the parent who works from home could spend time with the child during the workday, and the parent who works at the office could pick up the child after work. If both parents work, remember that your income is vital in providing for your children, which is why it is important to collaborate between you.
During the (approximately) twelve weeks of summer break, co-parents can use a variety schedules, including your own, and many different ones have proven to be effective. Below are some schedules to serve as examples. Remember that if you co-parent well, you can negotiate with the other parent and work things out between you.
Examples of summer co-parenting schedules:
- Option 1: Parent 1 spends two days with the child. Parent 2 spends two days with the child. Parent 1 spends a long weekend with the child. Then, it switches so that Parent 2 spends two days with the child, parent 1 spends two days with the child and parent 2 spends a long weekend with the child.
- Option 2: Each parent spends one week with the child, Sunday through Sunday. The parents can alternate on Sunday at a convenient time for both.
- Option 3: Each parent spends two weeks with their child, alternating back and forth. For example, this arrangement can be especially helpful if you plan on going on a family vacation.
- Option 4: The entire summer at one parent’s home primarily, with the other parent visiting or taking the child for activities or spending time with them on an established or flexible basis, depending on what the parents agree is best for their child.
- Option 5: Another option is for the parents to devise a system on their own based on their child’s best interests and schedules, which, of course, requires that the parents communicate well and respect each other.
These are, of course, not the only options and alternatives and there are many others. In any case, it is always a good idea to put agreements in writing to avoid misunderstandings. You can file these agreements with the court. In the event of a consistent problem, either parent can seek assistance from the court. The Wisconsin family court system offers model schedules for co-parents, as well.
Summer schedules allow co-parents to spend more time with their children. At times, however, this can cause problems because of a lack of communication or misunderstandings. It is critical to place the child’s best interests at the forefront of any decision-making and try your best to cooperate with each other.