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How to Help Kids Adjust to Summer Visitation

In Mobile County, a common parenting plan finds one parent taking care of the kids most of the time (the custodial parent,) and regularly visiting the other parent (known accordingly as the non-custodial parent.) During the school year, children with standard visitation will stay with the visiting parent approximately eight nights per month. In the summer, however, everything changes.

Under our local courts’ “standard” visitation, children will spend the first two weeks of June and the first two weeks of July with the non-custodial parent. This can be a major adjustment for both the children and the parents. The children essentially go from spending a maximum of three nights in a row away from the custodial parent to fourteen nights at a time.  This can be very challenging, particularly for younger kids.

So how can you help children adjust to their new schedule? For one, co-parenting is even more important during these summer months. Maintaining some consistent policies between parents is always beneficial, especially about bedtimes, diet, and entertainment choices. As school approaches, you will have to make plans to get them ready for the year. You should always work to put your children and their comfort first.

When children are young, it is common that they may not initially want to stay with the other parent for a full two weeks. Both parents have the legal responsibility of following the court order, however, so at times you may be in the difficult position of telling your child that they do not have a choice about when or for how long they visit. Utilizing FaceTime or Zoom can be helpful to keep in touch with the children. Still, make sure to let your children have their space and enjoy the extra time with the other parent that is meant to make up for their limited visits during the school year.

It is common that parents will use their two-week periods to go on vacation with their children. This may call for some alterations to the schedule and flexibility between the parents. Remember that the court order dictates the minimum amount of visitation time, not the maximum. If you are trying to organize a vacation, you should plan it and have your co-parent approve it well in advance. If communication is a common issue, keep it all in writing rather than relying on phone calls or in-person conversations.

It is important to note that although the visitation schedule changes over the summer, child support payments remain the same. The monthly amount of child support is determined on a twelve-month schedule which accounts for the extra time-ordered over the summer, rather than each month individually.

The summer visitation schedule allows children to spend uninterrupted long periods of time with their parents, which they cannot have during the school year. At the same time, we know it can be a significant adjustment. For help with your custody schedule or any other family legal matters, contact Empowered Family Law today. We are proactive and committed to our clients!

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Empowered Family Law, PC

With Empowered Family Law, you get an advocate who sees difficulties as opportunities for growth and emphasizes healing and problem-solving no matter how challenging your case.

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