The summertime is a great opportunity for parents who are separated or divorced to spend some quality time with their children. This is especially important for those parents who don’t have equal or substantial parenting time with their children during the school year. To take full advantage of this time, you should follow these quick DO’s and DON’Ts of summer child custody.
DO…Plan specific activities with your children.
Make memories with your children over the summer. Spend quality time with them while you have the opportunity. Planning specific activities not only creates great memories with your kids but discussing concrete examples of activities that you have done together could help you in court as well. Be sure to take photos of the events in case you need them to deal with custody disputes in the future.
DON’T… Discuss the legal situation with your child.
For some reason, parents tend to discuss legal issues more with their children during the summer. Talking about custody issues with your children generally isn’t a good idea no matter what time of year it is. One of the circumstances where this most commonly occurs is when the child has a great time with a parent for summer visitation and then doesn’t want to return to the other parent’s home. Telling your child that they don’t have to return to the custodial parent should be avoided.
DO… Plan your visitation schedule ahead of time.
In a Texas Standard Possession Order (SPO), there are specific deadlines to select extended summer parenting time. Normally, the visiting parent is required to provide notice to the other parent of their designated extended summer parenting time (also called visitation) by April 1 each year. A parent’s summer designation notification spells out when they will have their 30 days (or 42 days if over 100 miles) during that summer. If a designating parent misses their April 1 deadline, the SPO specifies the entire month of July as a default to the visiting parent. The primary parent can designate a weekend by April 15 to break up that extended time.
DON’T… Let your child be alone all summer.
When you have your child for extended summer possession, it can be tempting just to leave them alone while you are at work or park them in front of the television. Don’t do this! This is your opportunity to spend some good quality time with your child that you likely can’t do during the school year. Take advantage of the time and build a stronger bond with your child.
DO… Call a family law attorney if you have trouble with summer child custody.
Some parents struggle with summer child custody because they must “give up” their child for the other parent’s extended summer period of possession. If you run into problems, call a Dallas family law attorney to help clarify and enforce your rights.