Child custody issues are among the most difficult in a divorce, since many parents don’t want to lose any time with their children. As you approach topics like holidays, long weekends, and summer breaks, keep your child’s best interests in mind at all times.
Timesharing vs. Custody and Visitation
While the terms “custody” and “visitation” are the most frequently used in the world of family law, Florida uses slightly different terminology. Timesharing is a term that highlights the fact that a child has the right to spend time with both parents. As you and your co-parent work together to create a timesharing schedule, you will have to consider the three-month stretch of summer vacation.
Consider the Child’s Summer Schedule
Your child’s schedule may guide your timesharing schedule. If your child attends summer school or summer camp during the week, their schedule may be relatively similar to their school year schedule. In this case, some families may decide to keep the framework of the school year timesharing schedule, or they may choose to alter the schedule slightly and give each parent a longer period of time during which they can take their child on vacation.
If your child does not have summer activities planned, the parents should look at their own work schedules and other obligations. If one parent has more flexibility in their work schedule, they may take over daytime and overnight care while the parent with a more rigid work schedule may see their child every evening.
Giving the Child Quality Time With Both Parents
Summer break is a special time for children and parents alike. After a school year packed full of homework and extracurricular activities, many parents look forward to uninterrupted time with their children. However, don’t let your desire to spend time with your child override their right to have quality time with both parents. The timesharing schedule should ensure that the child gets plenty of time with both parties and has the chance to maintain a rewarding relationship with both parents.
Plan for Communication
As you and your co-parent start to decide the details of the summer schedule, plan ahead for communication with the other party. How often will the child call Parent A while in Parent B’s care? Will they use FaceTime, voice calls, or another method of communication? Having a set communication schedule can minimize conflict or misunderstanding when summer arrives.
When Parties Cannot Agree on a Summer Schedule
Ideally, parents should be able to come to an agreement regarding their child’s summer timesharing schedule. With the guidance and expertise of a knowledgeable family law attorney, this transition into summer timesharing and co-parenting will most definitely be less stressful and more seamless, providing parents and their children the opportunity to focus on what matters: Spending quality time and building relationships with each other.
If parents are unable to reach an agreement on their children’s summer timesharing schedule, the court will decide and take into account the child’s schedule, both parents’ work obligations, sometimes the child’s preferences, and other factors.
Creating a Timesharing Schedule That Meets Your Family’s Needs
Creating a timesharing agreement for summer visitation, which is normally included in a Parenting Plan, can be a difficult and emotionally-charged task. Having an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney on your side can make the process much easier. Call the Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire, P.A. at (561) 295-3693 to schedule a consultation at our West Palm Beach office.