Custody and Summer Break in North Carolina
Temperatures outside are heating up and kids are getting antsy, which can only mean one thing: it’s almost time for summer break.
While most people associate summer break with easygoing days and fun in the sun, if you have a joint custody agreement, summer can create a lot of confusion. How do you split parenting duties when your child is home all day and you have work to contend with? Who gets to take your child on vacation and when, especially if the days you’d like to travel are outside of your normal custody time?
Knowing how to navigate custody during your child’s summer break from school can help your summer months run much more smoothly and can save you headaches when trying to make plans for some summer fun.
Typically, custody agreements have two different schedules built into them: one for “regular parenting time” and one for “special parenting time.” Regular parenting time covers the majority of the year and will be the agreement that you typically follow on a regular basis. Special parenting time includes holidays and special periods of time like summer break or vacations when you would typically need to deviate from your regular schedule.
For example, during the school year it might make more sense for your child to stay with one parent during the week and alternate weekends if that parent is the only one who lives close enough to their school, so this would be your regular parenting time schedule. During summer break, however, your special parenting time schedule might consist of alternating weeks so that childcare during the day doesn’t fall on just one parent, or might completely reverse if the other parent works from home and can look after the child during the day more easily. If your regular parenting schedule already consists of alternating weeks, you might choose to keep with that during the summer, but still have a special parenting time agreement written into your summer schedule that allows for deviations from this schedule when one parent wants to travel with the child.
Most custody orders include a block specifically covering custody over summer break, and this schedule supersedes, or takes the place of, your regular custody schedule. However, if your custody agreement doesn’t already have a special parenting time schedule, working out a custody plan before summer break starts or vacation plans are made can save you headaches and disagreements down the road when you’re trying to make the most of the summer months. If it’s possible, sit down with your child’s other parent and discuss both of your plans for summer travel and vacations, and figure out what physical custody situation will work best for everyone involved.
Typically, it’s a good idea to agree to alternate summer holidays- meaning one parent gets Memorial Day and the other gets Fourth of July- if both parents want to be able to travel or make plans over these long weekends. As always, the key to working out your custody schedule is civil communication between both parents, compromise, and prioritizing the best interests of the child. You might agree, for example, that each parent will get priority in instances where both parents want to travel with the child over the same week during alternate years.
If civil communication to discuss summer custody is not possible between yourself and your child’s other parent, get a lawyer involved who can help you develop or modify a custody plan. Either way, laying out a summer break parenting schedule ahead of time will not only save headaches but potential arguments that could arise if both parents try to make plans for the same timeframe.
SeiferFlatow can help you develop a summer custody plan
Having a plan in place for how you will split parenting responsibilities and vacation time with your child’s other parent during the summer months is crucial to assure that your summer plans go off without a problem. If you have questions about your custody agreement or your parenting plan doesn’t already include a special agreement for the summer months, the legal team at SeiferFlatow is here to help. Our Family Law attorneys can help you create a parenting plan that works for both parents and keeps the best interest of your child in mind. Contact our office to speak to an attorney to schedule a consultation.