Ah, summer!

The bright sun, hot days, and thirst-quenching lemonade. Kids running around the neighborhood laughing with delight.

Oh yes, the kids! Out of school and with lots of time to fill, it’s time to plan for summer vacation.

While you may have already addressed custody in mediation, summer vacation has a way of shaking up even the most carefully laid plans. With kids now out of school for months, it will take some planning to ensure they are cared for during the day and that they can enjoy their summer to the max.

It’s also the season for family vacations, and for divorced parents, this most likely means two separate vacations to plan, with both parents wanting to enjoy quality, fun time with the kids.

As with most things divorce related, there’s a hard way and easy way. Of course, I suggest taking the easy way and working together to ensure you, your ex, and your children have the best summer possible.

There’s a few key pieces to making the easy way work for you:

Planning –

There is more planning required over the summer months to fill the gaps in childcare, plus keep up with things like vacations and summer camps. Planning ahead of time is absolutely critical to ensure everything falls into place.

Not only does this planning ensure both parents are on board, it helps the children know their schedule. Kids like routine and structure, so while their typical routine may be adjusted, they will benefit from knowing their schedule and when they will be seeing each parent.

And don’t forget to plan financially! Summer camps and increased childcare throughout the summer will cost money. Make a plan to cover these expenses and ensure both parties understand who’s in charge of what.

Communicating –

Along with planning, great communication between parents is absolutely essential. Sharing your own schedule for vacations and your expectations for custody arrangements throughout the summer goes hand-and-hand with planning. Additionally, communicating any changes and concerns that come up are important in working together to find mutually beneficial solutions. Speaking of which…

Keeping the peace –

Remember this isn’t personal, it’s about the kids.

It’s important that you are comfortable with the arrangements and care for your children. And it’s equally important that you balance this with an understanding of your ex-partner’s point of view. A plan that works for you and not for your ex, isn’t going to solve problems and will just cause more resentment in the future.

Just like the divorce process, keep things focused on the business at hand and keeping peace in your co-parenting relationship.

Summer vacation should be a time of play and laughter. And it can be with the right approach to co-parenting in place.