Summertime and the living is easy, that is, except for those involved in a custody dispute. With relaxed schedules, vacations, camp, and changing activities, summertime custody can prove to be more difficult for parties to navigate. Nonetheless, following the do’s and don’ts below can have you sailing smoothly until school begins.

Do notify the other party of your vacation plans. If you want to truly relax and enjoy your vacation time with the children, let the other parent know about where you plan to go as well as a contact number where the children can be reached. While you may not want to share what you believe is private information, most custody orders actually require the sharing of vacation itineraries . Plus, you do not want to put the children in the awkward position of having to hide this information from the other parent or disclose it against your wishes;

Don’t keep the children from enjoying all that summer has to offer. While each parent should be due their fair share of time with the children and should not intentionally infringe on each other’s time, there are often opportunities during the summer for children to enjoy special events such as family reunions, camping trips, beach outings, baseball games, etc. Consider being flexible on the standard custody schedule to allow the children to enjoy these special and sometimes once in a lifetime events.

Do discuss camp plans before you finalize them. Good communication is the key to any successful custody arrangement, and this is no different when deciding on camp. While oftentimes, each party is free to determine where they want to send the kids to camp during their time, it is best when they coordinate to make sure that the children have the most enjoyable and beneficial camp experience(s). It is also important to discuss camp when it will impact the other party’s custody time. For example if one parent has to drop off and one has to pick up, you want to make sure that the camp location and times are convenient for both.

Don’t worry because summer does not last forever. It is true that summer custody schedules often vary from the school year schedule. This is a good thing for the children as often they get to spend extended time with a parent they do not see as frequently during the year, or they may get to travel to exciting destinations with one parent, or visit extended family that they don’t normally see. While it is difficult to be away from the kids for any period of time, each parent needs to think about the changes to the normal custody routine as a chance to reconnect with the kids or spend some quality time away from the kids. The good news is that this change to the schedule is merely temporary, and the normal routine will resume before you know it.

In essence, the rules for summertime custody are no different than the normal guidelines for custody. As long as both parents put the interests of the children first rather than their own self-interest, their custody arrangement will be free from stress and disagreement.