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How summer vacation can affect child custody

If this is your child’s first summer break since you and your spouse divorced, you may have unsure of how the change in your child’s schedule will affect your child custody and parenting time agreement. Hopefully, the agreement or court order contains sufficient details about any changes to your parenting time schedule during the summer months. But even the most detailed agreement can easily miss a key point, and even the most experienced family law attorney or family court can fail to anticipate an issue that could eventually arise.

Therefore, it is important for parents to, if possible, maintain a good level of flexibility and cooperation as they navigate their first summer after divorce. Family court judges generally do not like to deal with what they consider to be minor issues that only affect issues of personal preference, so parents should try to overcome their disagreements and work together to resolve them, if possible.

Many parenting time agreements grant a large block of time – often, several weeks or even months – to the noncustodial parent during the summer. If so, the other parent may want to flip the agreement and have the same time allowances that the noncustodial parent has during the school year. Because several weeks is a long time to go without seeing your children, most courts should be willing to allow this.

Similarly, if the noncustodial parent pays child support, he or she may not want to do so while the parents are at his or her house during the summer months. Even if the other parent privately agrees to this request, the noncustodial parent may still want to write out the checks and leave it up to the other parent to void them, in order to maintain a record of consistent payment of child support.

Source:, “5 Summer Parenting Questions Answered,” Jennifer Wolf