Summertime means a break from routine, and that disruption can wreak havoc with family schedules–particularly families of divorce.
Divorcing and divorced couples need to remember that a court order is just that: an order, and it must be followed. However, most court-ordered visitation starts with the phrase “In the absence of a mutual agreement. . . .” This gives parents the opportunity to seek agreement and avoid potentially harmful conflict.
Before scheduling summer events, divorced/divorcing parents should discuss and seek agreement on things like camps, tournaments, sleepovers, vacations, and anything else that might affect the children’s ability to spend time with both parents. Parents should, under no circumstances, schedule activities during the visitation time of the other parent unless that parent has agreed to the activity in advance.
One other thing to consider: as children get older, they are becoming more independent and want to spend less time with their parents. As difficult as this change may be on both mom and dad, parents should keep it in mind when scheduling summer activities and visits for teenagers.
One idea to consider is, when appropriate, letting teenagers bring a friend with them to mom’s or dad’s house for the weekend or on an outing. This both makes the event more palatable to the teenager and is valuable for parents as well, because it gives them time to get to know their children’s peers.