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Summer Holidays and Child Custody

Another summer holiday is upon us, bringing about the all too frequent set of disputes about holiday and summer parenting time in child custody cases. Over our years of practice, we've seen this time of year create needless lost time and stress.

When it comes to holidays, it helps to have a clear head, a flexible attitude and a sense of compromise. The basic rules that I would state are as follows:

1. Keep activities down to a manageable number.

2. Recognize that any activity which you start that goes for a period of time will impact the other parent, so be considerate of their schedule on selecting the activity.

3. Choose longer parenting intervals for summer breaks so as to maximize each parent's time with the children.

4. Give the other parent significant prior notice of travel plans. Be considerate, and inform them of destination, accommodation and activity information.

5. If an activity is significant to you but not significant to the other parent, consider shouldering the financial burden yourself.

6. Be patient and understanding.

7. Make sure your activity and travel plans are age appropriate.

8. Avoid major last minute changes.

9. If there are problems with a parent's summer plans, don't argue about them as that will not accomplish anything. Contact your attorney for appropriate court requests.

10. Each parent needs to understand the safety rules with regard to an activity, and each should abide by those rules.

The rules outlined above are based on common courtesy and common sense. When applied to child custody matters, they help to make life far less stressful on litigants and make the lives of the children far more pleasant.