School’s out and the summer months are upon us. Summer for co-parents means figuring out how to divide your child’s time effectively. This isn’t an easy task. In fact, it is one of the most debated issues for co-parents. You may disagree on many points. Will your child stay at home? Will they enroll in camps and activities? Who will drive them around? Who foots the bill? You should make these decisions with your child’s best interests in mind. Here are some tips to help you do this while remaining amicable.
Adding Structure to Summer Months
Children often need structure in the summer. School usually provides the structure for them. Unfortunately, adults don’t get the summer off. This means we have to arrange for activities to keep our child occupied. Agreeing on how to do this can be a challenge.
Striking a Balance
Structuring your child’s summer takes balancing resources. It takes time to drive your child to camps and activities. These will also cost money and may easily exceed your child support amount. After deciding on activities, you need to discuss who will do the chauffeuring and how to split the costs. This is where patience and compromise can really pay off. Remember, you want to work together for the benefit of your child. Arguing over who pays for what won’t help. Some parents take these kinds of matters to court. Unfortunately, you could spend the entire summer in litigation just to get an order for an equal split of costs.
Work Together to Save
Working together to coordinate these matters saves time and money. The court will typically split the costs of extracurricular activities according to the parents’ income. You can work out this division on your own. If an activity is unaffordable for one parent, either offer to cover the cost yourself or find something more affordable.
For affordable activities, look local first. Your local YMCA or community center may offer lower-cost or sliding scale summer activities. Depending on the age and maturity of your child, childcare during the summer may or may not be necessary. Discuss the matter with your spouse. You should definitely both be on the same page regarding leaving your child unattended at home. From there you can discuss what childcare is appropriate and how to divide those costs.
Typically, co-parents exchange parenting time so they can get undivided weeks for vacations. Don’t use this as an opportunity to show the other parent up. You want consistent, quality, and safe activities that will enrich your child’s summer. If you and your ex are struggling with doing all this, consider mediation as a solution. Investing in a few mediation sessions now will pay off in summers to come. You can also include your agreements over summer structuring in your separation agreement.
If you have questions about co-parenting during summer, Mediation Advantage Services can assist you. Experienced in divorce mediation, Polly A. Tatum can help you and your spouse reach agreement on issues such as transportation and costs of camps and activities. Based in historic Worcester with a satellite office in Northboro, MA, our firm serves all cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and Worcester County including, Auburn, Paxton, Leicester, Sutton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Westboro, Northboro, Southboro, Holden, Sterling, Princeton, Worcester, Charlton, Millbury, Dudley, Spencer, Brookfield, Sudbury, Natick, Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Blackstone, Leominster, Fitchburg, Acton, Jefferson, Barre, Oakham, Cambridge, Newton, Marlboro, Lancaster, Bolton, and Hudson. Call our office at (508) 645-6374, fill out our online form, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free e-book for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.