When you and your ex-spouse agree on a parenting plan in New York, one facet to consider is making alternate arrangements for the children’s summer vacation. While your work schedule may not change during this time, your children will be home, which could drastically alter your day-to-day family life.

There are several options to consider when settling on the details for summer custody arrangements.

Your options as a co-parent

One option is to continue your usual parenting time schedule with no changes. If continuity and consistency are most important to you, this may be the best option. This also may be the best choice if you have a strained relationship with your co-parent and renegotiating a separate arrangement for a few short months of the year feels like an unnecessary battle.

Another option is to change with the seasons, adjusting to accommodate different needs and expectations during the summer months. If you are, for example, a parent that takes your children on extended vacations, you may want to arrange something other than your usual parenting plan to accommodate this. Your co-parent may, in fact, have a vacation of their own in mind.

Things to consider as you discuss your new arrangements

  • As always, your children should come first. What do your children want? Who do they feel most comfortable with? Is there anything you should be concerned about regarding the changing season and what it might mean for your children’s welfare?
  • Remain faithful to the plan. In other words, don’t spring last minute plans to take your children on vacation on your co-parent. Being a co-parent means that you are answerable to another adult while you are caring for the children you are both responsible for. When it is time to exchange custody, be prompt and courteous.
  • Don’t forget to consider other commitments the children have—summer camp, for example. One parent should not get penalized because their time with the children is supposed to be during the same time as such an activity. Rather, the co-parenting time should be split according to the court’s guidelines or your own agreement in an equitable arrangement.

The New York parenting plan worksheet includes a section that invites you to detail your plan for summer vacation. If you have yet to make your official parenting plan, this is the ideal place to document your intentions. If you have not—or your children were not of school age when you filed for divorce—it is not too late to clarify your summer parenting plan.

A well-rounded summer parenting plan can be one more component of your family’s happily ever after.