How to Make Summer Plans When Divorced
Westport Family Law Attorney
While summer is an exciting time for families, and children especially, it can bring a sense of dread to newly divorced families looking to make sure their children are still going to have a fun summer ahead. Although dealing with shared custody situations after a divorce may be difficult and not ideal to say the least, the summer holidays are manageable with proper organization, planning, and compromise
Child Custody in Connecticut
If you and your spouse divorced while having young children in the home, the issue of summer vacation almost certainly came up. Where would the children live? Would the visitation schedule change? If one parent moved to a different state, would that parent get the child(ren) visiting all summer? Many child custody arrangements that involve shared custody speak directly to the issue of summer vacation, especially when joint custody is on the table.
Joint custody, under Connecticut law, means an “order awarding legal custody of the minor child to both parents, providing for joint decision-making by the parents and providing that physical custody be shared by the parents in such a way as to assure the child of continuing contact with both parents.” There is a presumption that joint custody is in the best interests of the child when parents have agreed on joint custody. In law, a “presumption” is the default—thus, the if the parties have decided on joint custody, there is a legal presumption, and a strong one, that this is in the best interest of the child and will likely be implemented
Sharing Summer Plans
Assuming joint custody, you may already have a specific plan for who will entertain the children over the summer. In that case—great! Stick to the plan to avoid court involvement and remember that this was likely an agreed-upon scenario. For most of us, however, the arrangements will not be that clear cut. Your mom wants you and the kids to go to Disneyland over the 4th of July weekend, but that weekend happens to be your spouse’s family picnic. Dad wants to take the kids fishing, but mom wants to take the kids to the city. The disputes can go on and on. What are you supposed to do? Consider the following:
- Trade off. Dad can plan the trips in 2014, mom in 2015. There simply needs to be enough trust that this schedule can be maintained.
- Compromise. The family picnic is important and the kids want to go see their quickly aging grandparents. You can go to Disneyland the next week.
- Plan ahead. With proper planning, these scheduling scenarios can be dealt with in advance—no need for last minute work plan changes.
- Ask your kids. Having your child want to spend time with your spouse over you can be devastating, but there is something to be said for autonomy, especially among mature children. Consider at least entertaining the thought of what your children might prefer doing for their summer break before making plans for them.
- Deal with it out of court to the extent possible. As long as you are both following the custody arrangements, there is no reason why you cannot sit down and try to work things out before looking for court intervention.
These are only some of the many ways parents can work together to ensure a fun summer holiday for their children and a relatively stress-free schedule for mom and dad.
Custody Arrangement Modification
As you can see, the sole consideration when looking at custody situations is what the best interest of the child is. This is how custody awards are decided and how custody arrangements may be modified in the future in certain circumstances. If you and your spouse are having trouble coming up with an amicable arrangement for summer, modifications of custody arrangements are possible. However, this is not to say you should march to the courthouse at the beginning of every summer to get court-ordered rights to take your kids to Disney
Rather, child custody modification is on the table when there has been a substantial change in circumstances that affects the best interests of the child. Sending your three kids to stay with your spouse for the summer when your spouse just lost his or her job might not work for either of you. Or maybe your spouse is taking care of an ailing parent or picked up some abusive qualities that you know your kids should not be around. These things would likely be considered substantial changes in circumstances that may warrant a re-visitation of the custody arrangement.
Child Custody Attorneys in Connecticut
No one wants to spend their summer fighting with their ex-spouse, especially when the children are around to witness it. Summer is supposed to be a fun, relaxing, family-oriented time and it can be, even in less-than-ideal circumstances. Post-divorce custody issues can be time consuming, but the key is making sure you have amicable arrangements up front to avoid having to revisit the issue of custody later once you’ve each moved on with your lives.
Richard H. Raphael, Attorney at Law will make sure you consider the possibilities of the future summers and holidays when making your custody arrangements. An experienced attorney, Mr. Raphael knows how to negotiate the terms of custody agreements so that you and your spouse both walk away from the table with the best interests of your children in mind. To ensure an amicable divorce and child custody arrangement, contact the office in Westport, Connecticut to ensure the process goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.