Families Facing Parenting Challenges During Covid-19 Summertime Months
Divorced with Children? How to Juggle Work, Vacation and Childcare During the Summertime Months
COVID-19 has certainly added to the stress of the school year no matter what plan you pursued. Homeschooling, virtual learning, in school instruction, masks, social distancing, all have wreaked havoc with the traditional school year to which most people are accustomed. Now summer, and those carefree days that kids dream about all school year long, has finally arrived. However, summer can be difficult on parents when it comes to juggling work, vacation, camps and childcare.
This is especially true for parents who are separated or divorced. Trying to coordinate summer schedules can cause tension and conflict. Although there is no easy way to resolve all the issues that may arise when raising children in two separate homes, there are some tips to follow to help make things easier for both the parents and the kids.
The first thing to do is to read over your divorce or custody decree if you have one, and/or review your parenting agreement. Make sure you have a clear understanding about what your agreement says about co-parenting during the summer months. Make sure you review the financial obligations.
Plan Ahead For Summertime Special Events
Unless your decree specifies otherwise, child support payments continue during summer months even if the children are spending more time with the non-residential parent. Review any clauses regarding extra expenses such as camps, additional childcare, travel expenses, etc., as these can add up. And don’t forget about planning ahead for special events such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day.
If you don’t have an agreement that includes summertime plans, then you need to sit down together and come up with a workable plan. If this is something you cannot do successfully, then you may need to contact your lawyer to help with this. There can be a lot to consider when working out a doable schedule including the logistics of transportation to summer activities, daycare, and back and forth between parent’s homes.
Try to remain flexible. Summer is often filled with celebrations, parties, reunions, and weddings. These dates may not conform with what is stated in your decree or with what you previously agreed upon. These celebrations may be planned for times when the children are not scheduled to be with the parent who would like them to attend the event. Communicating with your ex as early as possible about any special events, helps to avoid any scheduling conflicts. Schedules like anything else, may need to be changed or modified.
Use a Calendar in the Summertime to Keep Track of Activities
As long as both parents are in agreement, you can deviate from your original plan. Putting it in writing though, is always a good idea. As the children grow, their needs and interests will change, so be flexible to meet what is in their best interests.
One way to avoid misunderstandings between parents is to use a calendar. Both sets of parents should have a calendar spelling out activities, vacations, special occasions, as well as to what days and or weeks the children are to be at each house. Posting a calendar at both houses is helpful to both parents and to the kids. It helps all to see what is happening when, and what things to look forward to. Although a visual is helpful, especially for children , if it is easier to keep track of things digitally, there are tools and apps that can be utilized such as Google Calendar, or Our Family Wizard.
Don’t ask your children to be the messenger if you need to make a schedule change. As difficult as it may be at times, try to put aside your personal feelings towards your former spouse, and communicate without negativity. Remember, it is not a competition between you and your ex to see who can provide more fun experiences. The goal is for your children to have positive memories of summertime fun with both parents.
Be Supportive of your Children
Being supportive of the time they spend with their other parent and asking them about the things they did with their other parent in a supportive manner, will let them know that they are loved and their happiness is what matters. Summer is a magical time for children! So as trying as it may be at times, hopefully by communicating and working with your ex-spouse, you can both help make summertime become a happy memory for your children.
Help with Divorce or Parenting Issues
If you are contemplating a divorce in the Dayton Ohio area, or wish to discuss parenting issues, please give us a call at 937 293-2141. Our experienced Dayton Ohio divorce lawyers at Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues are offering consultations in person, via ZOOM or over the phone.
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Robert L. Mues
Attorney Robert "Chip" Mues has been focusing his legal practice throughout Southwest Ohio primarily in divorce and family law matters since 1978. Chip is passionate about family law and has proudly published the Ohio Family Law Blog since 2007. In addition, he is the managing partner of Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues. To learn more about him or the law firm, visit the firm's website at www.hcmmlaw.com. Appointments are available in person, over the phone or by Zoom. Call us at 937 293-2141.