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Sharing custody and co-parenting during the summer months

For children of parents in Washington who are divorced or separated, summertime can be a time of stress and anxiety instead of a time of joy and relaxation. But it doesn't have to be this way if parents no longer living in the same house do some planning before school is out and schedules are more flexible.

Whether a divorced family's situation involves joint child custody or a prearranged visitation schedule, summer co-parenting is typically less stressful when everyone involved communicates and gets on the same page with plans. One way to accomplish this goal is by placing a visual calendar in each household to avoid confusion with schedules. Divorced parents are also encouraged to keep the fun in summer for their kids by not being disrespectful towards one another and not talking negatively about the other parent in front of their children.

It may also be necessary for parents to revisit existing plans before summer begins. Doing so can allow for appropriate adjustments as children get older and develop new interests or explore different activities. Tensions with children negotiating two households may be further eased if boundaries and expectations with behavior are established, which can also minimize potential conflict be keeping rules in each home as consistent as possible during the summer. And parents are encouraged to remember that summer adjustments to co-parenting routines and visitation schedules are temporary and in the best interests of the children involved.

A family law attorney may get involved with summer co-parenting issues if there is an inability to agree on schedule adjustments. Before suggesting court intervention, a lawyer may recommend mediation to help parents find common ground. Legal assistance might also be necessary if child support payments aren't made in a timely manner or if there is a need to adjust a custody agreement because of changes with circumstances.

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