Now that summer has arrived, parents throughout Florida must find activities to keep their children occupied while school is out.
Child custody summer visitation can sometimes be problematic for divorced parents. How should you divide the time? What if one parent lives in another state?
This is why it’s a good idea to have a parenting plan that clearly outlines how the child will spend the summer months.
By having a written agreement in place, parents can avoid disputes that create stress and frustration.
If you have questions about your parenting plan, or you would like to create a plan in your case, a Miami child custody and timesharing lawyer can help.
Co-parenting in Florida
One of the most important things to know about child custody laws in Florida is that Florida no longer uses the term “custody” to describe how divorced parents spend time with their children.
Instead, Florida law encourages both parents to share equally in the decisions surrounding their child. The law also prefers the child to have as much contact as possible with both parents.
There is no preference in the law for the mother – or the father, for that matter – to have primary control of the child.
Rather than a “custody agreement” or “custody plan”, divorcing parents in Florida create a Parenting Plan that includes a timesharing agreement.
This agreement should address issues such as health insurance, each parent’s responsibilities toward the child, provisions for child support, and a schedule for holidays and vacations.
Planning for Summer Break
Most children have several weeks off during the summer months. This long break is a good opportunity for kids to spend quality time with both parents.
In most cases, both moms and dads want to spend as much time as possible with their children.
On the other hand, parents may be understandably reluctant to permit a child to spend weeks in the other parent’s care – especially if the other parent lives far away.
If you and your ex-spouse are struggling to agree on an acceptable arrangement for summer visitation, there are several options available to you.
- Rotate the weeks: If the idea of going weeks without seeing your child doesn’t appeal to you, one option is to rotate parenting time every other week or every two weeks. This arrangement gives both parents a chance to spend time with the child and even go out of town for a summer getaway.
- Divide the summer in half: Another idea is to divide summer vacation equally between both parents. For example, if your child’s summer break is ten weeks, one parent can take the child for the first five weeks, and the other parent can have parenting time the remaining five weeks. This arrangement tends to work well for families with older children, or in cases where the parents wish to take the kids on trips to visit extended family members who live out of state.
- Give one parent the full summer: In some cases, it’s appropriate for one parent to take the entire summer break. For example, if mom lives in Florida, but dad lives in California, it might make sense for the child to spend the majority of his or her summer vacation with dad. This allows the father to spend several weeks in a row with the child, and it cuts down on the travel costs of flying or driving back and forth between the states.
Whatever parents decide, they should consider their child’s wishes as much as possible. After a long school year, most kids need time to relax and unwind.
As children get older, they may want to participate in camps and activities, which could take up much of the summer. Children may also want to spend their time with friends over summer break.
Still can’t agree on a parenting plan in your case? Child custody mediation could be the answer.
Parenting is hard work. Handling a co-parent can be especially challenging. Read our tips for working with a difficult co-parent.
A Miami Child Timesharing Lawyer Can Help
As a parent, you want what is best for your child. You can avoid a lot of headaches and disagreements with your ex-spouse by creating a reasonable summer timesharing agreement that allows both you and your ex to spend valuable time with your child.
To learn more about how parenting plans work in Florida, call a Miami child custody and timesharing lawyer today.