Child custody is the most important area to work out during a divorce. It defines the time and shapes the new relationship you’ll form with your children. If you’re not the primary caregiver, you may be wondering where that leaves you concerning spending time with the kids during the summer. Paula Lock Smyth Law Offices has a few tips for how summer child custody works.
How is Summer Child Custody Different from the Rest of the Year?
If you and your soon-to-be ex haven’t made your own parenting plan agreement, parenting time (also called visitation or possession periods) can depend on the type of custody ordered by the Court. There are many variations of types of custody and visitation. You could have joint custody with no primary parent being named or your custody order could name one parent primary with the right to establish the child’s primary residence. Regardless of which custody term is used, you could have parenting time ranging from each parent having six months with the child, week-on/week-off with the child or the primary parent could have the child on week days with the other parent having visitation the first, third and fifth weekends of every month. If a parent only has the child on the first, third and fifth weekends of each month, they also usually have Thursdays with the child during the school year, but not in the summer, but have an extended possession period during the summer.
Normally, summer child custody is a little different no matter what your arrangement is during the school year. The parent who has less time during the school year (the visiting parent) is given more summer days to spend with their child. Laws vary by state, and in Texas the summer possession schedule will be either 30 days if you live within 100 miles from the child or 42 days for parents who live more than 100 miles from the child.
Summer Child Custody Visitation Dates
Each parent has some control over deciding summer visitation dates if you follow the Texas Family Code guidelines. Each year, the visiting parent must notify the other parent of their desired extended summer possession schedule by April 1st. If the parent doesn’t meet the notification deadline, the default dates are July 1st to July 31st for the 30-day visitations or June 15th to July 27th for the 42-day visitation periods.
Continue Building the Relationship Even After the Divorce
Summer parenting time is critical for maintaining a bond with your children. If you’re not the primary parent (either in name or by how your parenting time is allocated in the school year), summers are the bulk of the time you’ll spend with your kids. Weekend visitation does not allow as much time to plan activities or build a relationship as the extended summer possession periods. Summer visitation allows freedom to spend quality time, plan vacations, and be a parent to your child on a more extended daily basis.
Ending a marriage or partnership doesn’t mean ending the relationship with your children. Divorce or separation brings about many changes, especially for the children. That’s why it’s important to show your desire to continue being a part of their lives. Take advantage of your summer child custody arrangements and make the most of the time you have with your children.