Summer vacation and child custody
Although “summer vacation” normally evokes thoughts of family getaways, that usually isn’t the case for families where the parents have divorced or separated. While separated or divorced parents want their children to enjoy their summer vacation and want to enjoy that time with their children, that can pose difficulties in the context of the parties’ child custody agreement or court order. Parents should put extra thought into how their children’s summer vacation will be handled under the family’s custody arrangement.
Custody Settlement Agreements
In most cases, parents can best resolve a child custody dispute through a settlement agreement. Courts also prefer it when parents are able to resolve custody and parenting time issues through a mutual agreement, rather than having to issue an order that one or both parents might not be happy with.
In a custody settlement agreement, the parents will address various custody-related issues, including most importantly the parenting time schedule, or when each parent gets to exercise parenting time with the children. But any custody settlement agreement should take into account the children’s summer vacation. Children’s schedules drastically change during summer vacation. Rather than the rigid weekday schedule of school, children instead have a completely free schedule to fill with whatever activities the children and their parents see fit.
Read more: Most Common Issues In Child Custody Cases
Common Summer Parenting Time Arrangements
Many mutually agreeable parenting time schedules for the summer grant each parent sizable blocks of time, often as long as two weeks or more, during the summer so that each parent has the opportunity to take the child or children on a vacation. Even if parents prefer having a week/weekend or week on/week off during the school year, summer vacation affords families greater flexibility in switching to a different parenting time schedule. Parents should not feel bound to constantly switch physical custody back and forth during the summer, so long as longer blocks of time work for both the parents and for the children and the activities that the children may participate in during the summer, such as going away to camp, are acceptable to both parents..
Combining Summer Vacations and the Normal Parenting Time Schedule
In custody settlement agreements or court custody orders, “holidays” or “vacation” will usually be specifically addressed. Thus, parents may want to consult with their legal counsel or with the court to clarify whether a settlement agreement or court order assigning parenting time during “holidays” or “vacations” includes the entire block of a child’s summer vacation from school. You don’t want a situation where one parent tries to claim that the custody settlement or court order grants them custody for the child’s entire summer vacation, while the other parent disagrees.
As noted, many children participate in various activities during the summer, such as going to sleep-away summer camp. Of course, the time that children are away at camp or other overnight activities will technically encroach on one or both parents’ parenting time. Even if one parent has sole legal custody under the custody arrangement, that parent may not be able to unilaterally send the parties’ child or children to camp during the other parent’s established parenting time.
Contact a Clark Family Law Attorney for a Consultation About Child Custody in New Jersey Today
If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or if you have already started the divorce process and are dealing with another matter such as child custody, child support, or division of assets, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at Team Law represent clients throughout the state, including Camden, Passaic, Union City, and Bayonne. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at (732) 540-1394 or fill out our confidential online contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 136 Central Ave., Clark, NJ 07066, as well as offices located in West New York, Perth Amboy, Edison, Summit, Newark, New Brunswick, Orange, Plainfield, and Jersey City.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.