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Summer is coming, are you and an ex on the same page?

June is just a few short weeks away and with it comes the end of another school year and the official start of summer. For school-aged kids, the summer months are meant to be a time for fun, relaxation and freedom. For working parents, the summer months can present many logistical challenges as parents must arrange childcare or somehow attempt to keep their kids busy and out of trouble.

For divorced parents, the day-to-day scheduling challenges that frequently accompany the summer months are often magnified as a parenting plan and custody schedule that worked during the school year must be adjusted to accommodate summer vacations, camps and extended stays with each parent. Even divorced parents who are on good terms and able to effectively communicate are likely to experience some misunderstandings or arguments when it comes to a child’s summer schedule. To minimize conflict, and the potential harm to a child, divorced parents would be wise to heed the following advice.

  • Respect your child’s best interests as well as his or her right to have a fun and carefree summer
  • Communicate about plans and any schedule changes as far in advance as possible and in writing
  • Create a shared electronic parenting calendar where both parents are able to add, view and approve any and all scheduled child-related events and activities
  • Avoid getting into power struggles with an ex-spouse
  • Resolve to make the most of the summer and the time spent with a child
  • Respect and promote an ex’s and child’s desire and right to spend time together
  • Allow a child to have a say in certain matters, especially when it comes to the types of activities he or she enjoys and wants to spent time doing during

Source:, “A 'Kids First' Guide to Summer Planning for Divorced Parents,” Julie Gowthorpe, R.S.W., April 15, 2016

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