Summer Schedule Notice Requirements in Parenting Plans

For many families the spring is an exciting time.   During spring, the weather gets warmer, the flowers bloom, the baseball season begins, and families plan for their summer vacations.  For families whose children’s residential time is split between two unmarried parents, it is also often a time that the parenting plan requires parents to swap summer schedules.  In many plans both parents submit their desired summer schedules and one parent has the prevailing preference for each year.  Here are a few ideas that some families have found helpful when addressing notice for summer vacation schedules:

  1. Comply with the notice requirements. In many parenting plans there is an alternating opportunity to provide notice of your preferred dates for the summer vacation and to have those preferred dates set the summer residential schedule for the children.   Be sure that you do not miss the deadline for providing your preferred schedule.  If you do miss the deadline, you may also miss the opportunity to have the summer schedule you desire.   It is also important that you comply with the type of notice to be exchanged.  Many parenting plans require that the notice of preferred dates be provided in writing.
  2. Let your extended family know. It can be very helpful to give your extended family notice of when you will have the kids during the summer.  If it is a year when your selected dates for summer vacation will prevail, it can be a good idea to ask extended family member and/or close friends if they have any plans they are trying to make with you and your kids for the summer vacation.  This can allow you to request dates that permit you and your kids to participate in summer events (parties, BBQs, camping trips, road trips, etc.).
  3. Plan around holidays and special occasions. On most people’s parenting plan priority lists special occasions and holidays come before summer schedule.  If you have an opportunity to have your children for uninterrupted time over the summer, make sure you plan it around time that the kids will otherwise be with the other parent for a holiday or special occasion.  If you do not avoid special occasion and/or holidays (and assuming those types of days do prevail over the summer schedule), you may have the kids for your uninterrupted time, only to be interrupted by a special occasion or holiday when you have to hand the kids back to the other parent for a day.

It is important to note that not all parenting plans contain notice requirements related to summer schedules.  Furthermore, not all plans provide for summer residential schedules to be any different than the regular schedule (a.k.a. school year residential schedules).  It is important to consult your own parenting plan (and in some circumstances, a family law attorney) about the notice requirements in your own parenting plan.

If you would like to speak to a Seattle family law attorney about your summer schedule or other parenting plan issue, we invite you to contact Blair & Kim today.  At Blair & Kim we are prepared to guide you through any family law issue.

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