As every parent and child in the Seattle area knows, the end of school year is just around the corner. Whether your children are planning on getting a summer job, going to camp, or spending the summer some other way, the season represents a major change in their schedule.
If you and the children's other parent do not live together, this can be a big challenge. Depending on your child custody schedule, one parent might see the kids much less in June, July and August, which can be tough. Because of this, the noncustodial parent might lash out at the custodial parent, or fail to comply with his or her obligations.
The co-parenting plan
Parents fighting over custody hurts the kids most of all. As an article in the Huffington Post points out, one good way to avoid these conflicts is to plan ahead of time by creating a thoughtful and detailed parenting plan. Having a document that both parents worked on and agreed to can head off a lot of potential arguments later on.
Written in black and white
A written document lays out the custody plan in black and white, minimizing the risk of misunderstandings. For example, if the parents agreed that the children would stay with one parent for the first half of summer vacation, and live with the other parent for the second half, that agreement will be in the co-parenting plan for each parent to read.
The plan may not work for both parents forever, but it is a useful starting point. If a parent seeks a change, the plan can provide a blueprint for resolving conflict to hopefully avoid going to court.
With the help of your family law attorney, if you and your ex are willing, you should be able to negotiate a parenting plan that ensures the children's well-being, while also being fair to both parents.