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Have you and your ex made a summer child custody plan?

It's already April and as divorced parents in the Boston area look ahead to the summer months, many likely have questions and concerns about changes to existing child custody and visitation arrangements. With kids no longer tied to a school schedule, the summer months provide both children and parents more freedom to spend time together and plan vacations.

The summer months are often an especially precious time for divorce parents who may otherwise only see a child a few days per week or month. While kids may still have a couple of months left of school, divorced parents would be wise to take steps now to plan and finalize summer child custody schedules.

As many divorced parents can attest, miscommunication often breeds misunderstanding which can cause parents to argue and mistrust one another. To prevent these types of disagreements, parents should communicate in writing their wishes and plans for the summer months. Once plans have been agreed upon, a shared calendar app can help ensure that both parents are on the same page about custody schedules.

Even though most kids enjoy the freedom that comes with being out of school during the summer months, a child may still experience difficulties in adjusting to custody changes. This may be especially true if a child spends more time with a non-custodial parent or a parent takes a child on vacation and he or she is away from mom or dad for an extended period of time. In these types of situations, it's completely normal for a child to miss the other parent and an extra call home shouldn't be taken the wrong way or discouraged.

At times, divorced parents may disagree about summer plans. In these cases, an attorney who handles family law and child custody and visitation matters can help parents communicate with one another and work to come to a mutually-beneficial agreement. In cases where one parent wishes to amend the terms of a child custody or child support order, an attorney should always be consulted.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Child Custody Over the Summer: Dos and Don'ts," Betty Wang, March 31, 2013

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