How to Plan a Parenting Time Schedule for Summer

May 1, 2024  |  Jason C. Brown

Child custody is a complex matter that can be difficult for parents and children. Summer vacation often brings further complications as children are off from school and families make travel plans. With summer quickly approaching, we’ve put together a guide of things to know and best practices to follow when making your summer parenting time schedule.

Check Your Legal Papers

The first step in planning time with your children this summer is to examine your court orders and legal agreements with the other parent. Parenting time is separate from custody, and non-custodial parents are generally awarded at least 25 percent of their children’s total parenting time. In Minnesota, parenting time is measured based on the number of overnights a child spends with a parent over an entire year. Your court-issued parenting time order may specify seasonal changes in these arrangements.

Consider Summer Schedules

Next, make sure to account for how everyone’s schedules may change during the summer, including you, the other parent, and your children. Do you or the other parent work seasonal jobs or attend school? Do either of you have summer hobbies that would affect your schedule?

Your children may also work summer jobs or attend summer camps. Older children may have recently acquired driver’s licenses and desire to spend more of their free time independently. Planning a parenting time schedule that works with everyone is in your best interest.

Plan Early and Thoroughly

Making plans well in advance makes it more likely that they will come to fruition. This is especially true for travel plans, as they could require additional discussion or negotiation with the other parent. Consider where you want to go with your children, for how long, and if those plans fit within your parenting time schedule. If you currently only see your children on weekends, you will have to adjust your arrangements to take them on longer trips.

Remember to check your court orders for verification that you are allowed to take your children out of the state or country for vacations.

Maintain Open Communication

Regular, transparent communication with the other parent and your children will make your summer much smoother. Let the other parent know your plans as much as you are comfortable doing so. Share where and when you plan to travel and let them know how they can contact you if necessary. You may need their permission for certain travel plans, and open communication will encourage cooperation and accommodation.

Your child custody or parenting time arrangement may also specify how you can or should communicate with your children during summer vacation. Make sure to involve them in the summer planning process as well, especially if they are older. They will likely want to make plans with friends in addition to spending time with you, and these plans will often be spontaneous. Be ready and willing to cooperate with the other parent and to accommodate your children’s desires to ensure that they make the most of their summer vacations.

Contact Us for Help or with Questions

We know that making a summer parenting time schedule can be complicated, stressful, and emotional. If a particular issue is not specified in your legal papers, see if you can reach an agreement with the other parent. If you can’t, contact the family law attorneys at Barna, Guzy & Steffen. We will fight for your right as a parent to spend quality time with your children this summer and all year round.