Although it is still spring here in Virginia, it is not too early for divorced parents to address their summer parenting plans. Because children generally do not have school in the summer, this means that their summertime child custody and visitation schedule may look different from that they have in the school year.
For example, a child may spend more overnights with the noncustodial parent in the summer than they do in the school year. This may especially be true if the child's parents live far away from one another, making frequent school year overnights unfeasible. In addition, both parents may wish to take the child out-of-state for a vacation during the summer. And, there are summer holidays such as Memorial Day, The 4th of July and Labor Day to contend with.
It is important that a child custody and visitation schedule established at the time of the parents' divorce addresses all these summertime custody issues. However, as the child grows his or her needs will change. It is also the case that sometimes the parents' lives significantly change as well. When this happens, it may be necessary to seek a modification of an existing custody order from the court. Parents who anticipate needing such a modification should seek one sooner rather than later. This gives both the parents and the child time to adjust to the new plans.
Summer is a fun time for children. However, for children of divorce there can be stress if parents are arguing over summertime custody and visitation issues. Parents should try to come to an agreement on their own if they are facing child custody and visitation issues. However, if the courts need to be involved it is better to address these issues now, so there are no surprises once summer rolls around.