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Summer vacation months can create strain on your parenting plan

Every family is inherently unique, which means that every divorce and custody situation is also unique. This is why courts spend a lot of time carefully considering your family's situation when establishing the terms of a parenting plan and custody arrangements during a divorce. The intention is to create a solution that works for everyone in the family, while focusing on the best needs of the children.

However, it is common for families to experience issues with a parenting plan after it's in place. Changes in life circumstances, interpersonal issues and even a sudden illness can wreak havoc on the way you manage custody, visitation and parenting time. Despite the best efforts of the courts, summer vacation is often a source of stress and problems for recently divorced parents.

School vacation means a stark increase in childcare needs

During the school year, you likely don't have to worry much about childcare costs. Parents with evenly split custody can create arrangements that allow one parent to drop the children off and another to pick them up. Both parents can likely work outside of the home for the entire day while the children are in school. There may be an hour or two in the afternoon or morning where you need childcare coverage, as well as half days and other scheduling anomalies. Otherwise, work and school tend to balance each other out on the schedule.

Summer vacation can completely change that. Your children will be home all day, every day, for several consecutive months. Unless you work as a teacher, your employer will expect you to keep coming to work all summer, regardless of whether you have custody of your children. The costs associated with full-time day care during the summer could prove to be a major issue. The need for more childcare can also strain your parenting plan and throw your usual routine completely off.

Vacations and trips can also cause conflict

Even if you have arrangements in place that ensure proper childcare during summer months, the looming potential for a trip or vacation can also lead to conflict. If one parent wants to take the children for longer than he or she usually does at one time, the other parent may block the vacation. This can lead to hurt feelings, disappointed children and a strained co-parenting relationship.

Your best option is to plan carefully for vacations as early as possible. You and your ex should talk about what you plan to do and when, so that you can both adjust your schedules and expectations accordingly. Open communication and flexibility can go a long way toward keeping things calm and stable for your children.

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