Summer vacation has already started for many Washington children, and will be starting soon for the rest. For children of unmarried parents, this often means a change in their residential schedule. During the summer, kids may be spending more time with the non-primary residential parent at his or her home, or they may be vacationing with one or both parents. This can also mean changes in childcare and extracurricular activities.
Parenting plans can help families plan how summer break will be handled. Some families choose to have summer schedules that mimic their school year residential schedules. This is most common in families where both parents are local, and both parents work during the summer. For these families it can make the most sense to have the school year schedule continue year-round. This avoids unnecessary changes for the children and maintains frequent contact with both parents throughout the year.
Other unmarried parents have plans that schedule the children to reside the majority of the summer with a parent living far away from the child’s usual residence. This allows the children to have substantial time with the non-local parent without missing school or compromising their extracurricular schedule. It can be difficult for the child to be away from the primary residential parent. Frequent communication between the primary residential parent and the child should be encouraged.
Some families with unmarried parents that live close together choose to vary their summer schedule as well. Some parents choose to do this by permitting one or both parents to have vacation time during the children’s summer vacation. This vacation time gives the parent(s) the opportunity to have the children for an extended (usually uninterrupted) period of time during the summer. In most cases, it is not necessary for the parent to travel with the child to exercise their right to vacation time. They may choose to use their uninterrupted vacation time at home enjoying the extra time with their kids.
If you would like to discuss how to create a parenting plan that fits your families needs, or if you would like to modify an already-existing parenting plan, please contact us.