As summer approaches our thoughts drift to family reunions and vacations. Summer is a great time for a family vacation, as children are out of school. Even for people who cannot vacation in the summer, there are often family get-togethers at relatives, in a local park, or at the beach. For parents who are separated, either by divorce or otherwise, summertime child custody scheduling can be a challenge.
CHILD CUSTODY ORDER * IF YOU HAVE ONE, REVIEW IT NOW
If you have a child custody order, now is the time to review it carefully. Each custody order is specific to the circumstances of your child or children. But it may be that your custody order provides for some flexibility. It will probably have a specific custody schedule but may allow for other times as agreed by the parties. Each parent might be permitted a week or two during the summer, and it might require a certain number of days prior written notice to the other parent. So, get your notice to other parent before you pay for or put down a big deposit on a vacation. A custody order might state that whoever gives notice first gets the time. But make sure your notice is delivered in time to the other party and that you can show it was indeed received.
TALK TO YOUR LAWYER * IF YOU HAVE ONE
If you are unsure or confused by the terms of your child custody order, contact the lawyer who represented you. If s/he is no longer your lawyer, you can always consult with another family law attorney.
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A LAWYER * YOU ARE A PRO SE LITIGANT
If you do not now or did not have a lawyer represent you in your child custody matter, now might be a good time to consult with a family law attorney. Individuals who represent themselves in court are called pro se litigants. If you cannot afford a lawyer, contact your local city, country, or state bar association which can help you find a lawyer, maybe even a lawyer who will work with you regarding the costs. Also, the bar association should be able to provide you with contact information of legal aid organizations, which might provide you with a lawyer pro bono, meaning at no cost to you.
Every parenting pair behaves differently. Some are really good sports and encourage their child or children to have a good relationship with the other parent. And sometimes * well, let*s just say sometimes it can be challenging.
WHAT DO THE KIDS WANT?
There is a big difference between a 3-year-old and a teenager. A 3-year-old goes where the parent goes usually, but a teenager might have special needs and desires. Maybe a 16-year-old wants to go to another state and spend a big portion of the summertime with grandparents, an aunt and an uncle, or cousins. A teenager might possess special talents, like in sports or music, and perhaps a sports or music camp would be a perfect summertime setting for that child, at least for part of the summer. Keep in mind, if you cannot afford to send your child or children to camp, you can inquire about financial assistance. Just make sure to include the other parent in any planning along these lines if you have shared legal custody.
AS TIME MARCHES ON * THINGS CHANGE
The Custody Order
Remember the custody order is customized by the court because of the facts in your specific custody matter. Make sure you understand the terms of the order and if you think it is incorrect or needs to be changed because circumstances are different, consult with a family law attorney or go the court for some direction. And good luck !
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