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Parenting plan and summer break

If you are in a child custody dispute, either you are in the process of preparing a parenting plan or you already have one entered. Either way, as summer is the time when people typically take vacations with their children, your parenting plan should address the summer break and include a vacation schedule. 

The parenting plan establishes the children’s residential or custodial schedule with their parents. The parent who has the children the majority of the time is called the primary residential parent, and the parent who does not is considered the non primary residential parent. The primary residential parent is also the custodial parent for purposes of federal and state statues that require a custodian designation.

Whether you are going through a divorce or have a child in common, it is important that your parenting plan address the summer break and a vacation schedule. The summer vacation schedule can be from one to two weeks, taken consecutively or non consecutively.

A notice provision should be included where parents give each other advance notice (a couple months ahead of the start of summer break) of their vacation dates. Having a notice provision allows you and the other parent to work out the summer schedule in advance, which saves money and gives your kids structure. The parenting plan should designate which parent’s vacation schedule has preference in the event a conflict arises. This can be done by stating that dad’s vacation schedule has preference in even years, and mom’s vacation schedule has preference in odd years. 

A parent’s vacation schedule does not have to be limited to the summer break. Vacations can be taken during other school breaks. But a parent should not be removing a child from school simply to go on a vacation. The important thing is creating a summer and/or vacation schedule that best fits with your children’s needs, and which also gives both parents ample time with the children.