After a divorce or child custody dispute, summers can be challenging for both co-parents and children to adjust to shifting schedules and new traditions. While Indiana parents must develop and agree on a parenting plan, adjusting to this plan in summer months may be more complicated than you anticipated.

No matter how much time has passed, it may never be easy to spend part of the summer apart from your child. However, there are considerations to implement to keep the summer months as fun and conflict-free as possible for you, your child and your child’s other parent:

Make plans in advance

You may have several ideas of how you would like to spend your time with your child this summer. Whether you wish to take your child to visit family out of state, go on camping trips, enroll your child in summer school or more, discuss plans well in advance with both your co-parent and your child to avoid confusion or miscommunication.

Communicate clearly

A functional co-parenting arrangement involves clear communication. Maintain somewhat regular communication with your co-parent to inform them of any shifting plans and to avoid conflict. Regarding your children, summer can be a confusing time after becoming accustomed to the structure of the school year. Establish a structured schedule early on and regularly discuss upcoming plans with them.

Be prepared for shifting child care costs

Whether due to summer camps, day programs, a need for new clothes, daily transportation needs or more, caring for your children throughout the summer can easily lead to increased expenses. Discuss this with your co-parent to determine how to fairly split such expenses and if necessary, talk with your lawyer about how to address these costs.

Be flexible

While structure and a stable environment is important for children, also understand that you may need to be flexible to some degree throughout the summer months. While you and your co-parent may have a strictly laid out schedule during the school year, summer may bring extended vacations and unique circumstances. Be as fair as you can without compromising too much on your own needs and schedule.

Co-parenting is not always easy and requires significant adjustments. However, remember that summer vacation is supposed to be a fun time that can offer you some invaluable time with your children. Enjoy your time and work on cultivating a productive co-parenting arrangement to ultimately benefit your child.