Children are always excited for summertime.
But with children off from school, there can be potential problems with child care. Do child custody arrangements need modification in the summer?
The answer may be “yes” or “no.” The key is proper planning. In the spring, a schedule should be created based on parents’ work schedules, available child care providers, the child’s extracurriculars, and more. Ideally, this should be included in the original parenting plan; however, circumstances may change and the summer vacation schedule may need to be revisited.
Massachusetts Custody Law
Family courts are usually tasked with rendering judgments on custody, parenting time (visitation), maintenance (child support), and other decisions. Modifications to child custody are common, as circumstances often change. When a modification is needed, you should submit the request to the court that ordered the current arrangement.
As with every decision that the court makes regarding minor children, the goal is what’s in the child’s best interest. Other factors that may influence a decision include:
- The child’s progress in school and comfort in the community
- The relationship between the child, the parents, and other members of the family
- Any knowledge of parental abuse, neglect, or use of drugs and alcohol
- The child’s age and level of maturity
- Transportation concerns, current work schedules, and more
If a custody arrangement needs any modification for summer vacation, it’s also a good idea to review the parenting plan overall to see if other changes need to be made. For example,
- Changes to where the child will spend his/her holidays
- A vacation schedule if one parent is planning a vacation
Here are some tips to make your summer custody modification go smoothly.
Prepare in advance: Initiate discussions with the other parent concerning the summer schedule well in advance. Are there summer-camp-type activities to consider?
Communication: Be open to discussion with the other parent to create a mutually acceptable arrangement. If there is disagreement, consider a neutral third party to act as a mediator.
Avoid trying to do too much: Although the child may want to take part in a host of programs and activities, avoiding making too many commitments and creating an overly stressful situation.
The lawyers at the DiBella Law Offices, P.C., represent clients in the many aspects of Massachusetts family law including divorce, property division, and support. We will work to assist your family through difficult times. For a free consultation, contact us today at (978) 327-5140 or (978) 258-7600.