When you made the decision to file for divorce in an Illinois court, your mind was no doubt full of thoughts regarding your children’s well-being and how to navigate your circumstances while causing them the least amount of disruption possible. It takes teamwork to execute a peaceful, productive child custody plan. You can expect to encounter challenges as you and your ex figure out how to make your co-parenting arrangement work best.
Various times of year may be more challenging than others when it comes to avoiding co-parent conflict after divorce. For instance, when your children are on summer break from school, it’s particularly important to make sure you have addressed certain issues in your child custody plan.
Write out terms for vacations in a child custody agreement
You and your co-parent will be less likely to argue over summer issues if you map out a plan for vacations ahead of time. If the two of you get along well, you might even decide to vacation at the same place at the same time so that your kids can have time with both of you at once.
If you don’t think that type of arrangement would go over well in your family, you can write out terms for who will vacation with the children at which times. It’s always best to agree to share vacation information with each other as parents, including names of hotels, time span that you plan to be away, etc.
Flexibility is a key to successful co-parenting
Part of what makes summer time special is that there is less structure because kids don’t have school work. It’s okay if you don’t consider yourself a spontaneous type of person. However, your co-parenting relationship might be more peaceful if you and your ex are both willing to be flexible as needed.
Perhaps there might be a time when you’re scheduled to have the children at your house. Maybe your ex might call and say that he or she snagged tickets to a concert that you know your kids would love to attend. It’s a good idea, in such situations, to be flexible. Your children will appreciate that you sacrificed your time with them so that they could experience a special summer event.
Discuss finances and incorporate terms of agreement into your plan
Summer activities, such as day camp, beach vacations or specialized athletic training camps, cost money. When you were married, such activities would merely be a household family expense. Remember that when you finalize a divorce, you’ll want to include terms of agreement for financial provisions for summer activities in your child custody plan.
Will you and your ex split expenses 50/50? Is one of you paying child support? Will each of you pay for the individual activities you do with your kids? There are no set rules for paying for summertime activities other than adhering to a court order for child support payments if one exists. Beyond that, you and your ex are free to customize your own summertime financial plan to help avoid confusion or conflict.
What to do when unexpected issues arise
In a perfect world, you and your co-parent could simply move on in life after divorce and never experience child custody problems or complications. In reality, any number of issues might arise that cause tension between you and your ex.
If the problem is of a legal nature, it’s always best to reach out for additional support as needed rather than try to handle a complex issue on your own.