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Worried about co-parenting during summer break?

Coming to terms with divorce as a family is challenging at best, and extremely difficult if all involved parties are not willing to cooperate and work as a team. While you might be looking forward to summer break with your kids, you may also feel anxious because it's your first summer since your divorce. Or perhaps it is your fifth or sixth summer since then, but you're worried anyway because you know your ex always tries to throw a wrench into your plans.  

It likely won't help your kids much if they spend their summer watching their parents fight. Then again, you shouldn't have to sit back and do nothing if your former spouse isn't playing fair. It's better to have a plan of action in mind and to know exactly where to seek support if a problem arises that you can't resolve on your own. Keep in mind, however, several ideas may also be helpful if your goal is to have a low-stress, enjoyable summer with your kids.  

The court rules 

Even if you and your former spouse devised your co-parenting plan, you still had to seek the court's approval. The court is always your final voice of authority in child-related matters in divorce. Therefore, a first logical step to take to have a good summer is to review your existing court order and make sure everyone involved clearly understands its terms. You should spell out your visitation and custody schedule for the summer in writing. If not, you may wish to petition the court to modify the agreement.  

Communication is important 

You may no longer be in a marriage to your children's other parent, but you will always have a connection because of the children you have in common. It may help avoid major legal problems if you agree to keep each other in the loop regarding summer plans and also to allow the kids to have full, easy access to the other parent at all times.  

Provide clarity for your kids 

Children may feel stressed or upset if they're never sure where they'll be spending their summer days. You can show them your support by creating a calendar that lets them know in advance which parent they will be with on which days.  

Set your ill feelings aside for your children's sake 

The very sight of your ex may make you want to scream in frustration at times; however, it does no good to expose your children to your negative thoughts and actions regarding their other parent. It's far better to be as positive as possible and to share in the joy they have in the times they spend with their other parent during summer.

Don't be afraid to reach out

Summer should be a fun and exciting time for you and your children. It can be difficult to not let divorce get in your way, but if your ex simply refuses to adhere to your court order or is otherwise thwarting your efforts to have a great summer at every turn, you may want to bring it to the court's attention if it has something to do with the co-parenting plan you both signed.

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