Co-parenting under optimal circumstances requires prompt communication, incredible patience, and the flexibility to change a parenting arrangement with little, if any, notice. Some parents thrive with routines, while other parents adapt well to rapid changes. Rapid change for a child is called summer break, where the educational routines of the past nine months go out the proverbial window to be replaced by an active schedule that requires involvement from both of the divorced parents.
In 2020, we are dealing with a new co-parenting paradigm that is the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can say summer break started three months earlier this year, and it looks like for some students, fall classes might continue to be taught remotely.
If you are in a co-parenting relationship, the Illinois licensed family law attorneys at Peskind Law Firm would like to share a few time tested tips that we have shared with dozens of other parents.
Plan Ahead of the Summer Break
You know when summer break starts and when it ends. There should be no surprises when it comes to co-parenting during your child’s summer break. Months in advance of summer break. Sit down and talk out how you want to share time with your child or children. In Illinois, many child custody cases designate one parent to be the primary residential parent and the other parent to follow a set parenting schedule, such as every other weekend and a couple of nights during the week. Illinois family law also allows the option of joint custody, which is a 50-50 parenting model.
The most important thing is to plan out the summer custody schedule in accordance with your child custody relationship. Regardless of the type of co-parenting relationship, both parents need to consider clubs, sports, outings, and vacations when coming up with a viable co-parenting plan for summer break.
Written Changes Carry More Legal Weight
Look at a co-parenting relationship like you view a business contract. Although an oral agreement can carry some weight inside a courtroom, written contracts formally establish the business obligations for each party. For a co-parenting relationship to flourish, you need to ensure that any changes, whether the changes are significant or not, are written down for both parties to see. A written co-parenting agreement protects both parties against frivolous legal actions.
Align Vacations with Holidays
We have worked with parents that create a process that schedules time for each parent during a holiday or a vacation. Your plan might include instructions that allow one parent to claim vacation dates first or select a summer holiday to spend time with the kids. Summer gives you two-holiday options to plan vacations around, which means one parent can cover a vacation and a holiday, while the other parent can do the same. For example, one parent spends time with a child on vacation over the Memorial Day weekend, while the other parent schedules a second vacation for the 4th of July.
Summer Does Not Change Your Regular Schedule
During summer, your work and leisure schedule does not automatically change much because of co-parenting responsibilities. However, some parents negotiate agreements to change the co-parenting schedule in summer so that each can spend more time with the kids. Some co-parenting plans give the non-custodial parent the majority of parenting time in summer to account for the arrangement made for the other nine months out of the year.
Communicate When You’re on the Go
Yes, prompt and efficient communication matters to develop a co-parenting relationship that works for both parents, as well as the children. Sometimes, communication breakdowns occur because of travel, whether the travel is for business or leisure. With multiple ways to communicate plans and schedules, there should not be any communication issues when one parent hits the road. Using a Smartphone to send a text message to leaving an email at the preferred address of the other parent, technology ensures there is no excuse for not communicating effectively while on vacation or at a business conference. This also means any children with the traveling parent should be able to communicate with the other parent.
Co-parenting, especially for parents that are new to the arrangement, can become overwhelming at times. At Peskind Law Firm, we work with parents to establish a co-parenting program beneficial to everyone involved in the child custody arrangement. Contact Peskind Law Firm today to develop and follow a successful co-parenting program.