By Jamie Kinkaid
As discussed in a previous article, “Summer Parenting Time: Common Problems and Solutions,” there are unique issues for divorced dads that crop up when children are out of school for the summer.
Parenting plans will typically spell out which parent picks their vacation first during each year, whether it is even or odd numbered years. It should also spell out the date the vacation must be selected by.
It can be argued that a party should forfeit parenting time if he/she does not choose their scheduled vacation time by the date outlined in the decree.
However, to preemptively avoid this problem, you should include a clause in the summer visitation order that reads, “In the event the selecting parent does not pick their vacation by the required date, they do not forfeit their summer vacation visitation. Either parent may then select their visitation first – treated as a ‘first come’ situation – and each parent is subject to accommodating the parent who selects first.”
It is also imperative to include a requirement about how many days the selecting parent should give notice. This will prevent the “surprise visitation” selection.
For instance, the day before a parent wants their summer visitation, they serve their notice on the other parent. What if daycare has been arranged, a family member is visiting or if a camp has been paid for? The child truly loses out in these situations when they will inevitably find out they missed out on something due to a lack of communication or the parents’ inability to get along.
Therefore, by giving the guideline that a number of days notice is required, typically at least 30, it can prevent hurt feelings and arguments. It will also allow your child the maximum amount of opportunities to participate in special events.
Divorce Advice For Fathers:
Summer Holidays Parenting Time
Vacation selection should also not infringe upon holiday visitation. Holiday visitation, as should be stated in your order, should take priority over all other visitation.
This includes Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. It may also include a birthday of one of the parties or the child.
Divorce attorneys usually advise that a statement about holiday visitation taking priority be included in the order to prevent the argument that summer vacation selection takes priority, which in turn allows a parent to take away another parent’s holiday visitation.
Extending Your Weeks
A tremendous amount of arguments tend to come from tacking your vacation onto your regular visitation to increase the amount of time you spend with your child. Example: taking your two-week vacation starting the Monday after your regularly scheduled weekend, so you can have 17 days instead of 14.
You might consider adding the phrase to any of your proposed orders, “holiday visitation cannot be tacked onto regular visitation to increase parenting time without the express written permission of the other parent.” Without this limitation, parents are free to extend visitation in a limitless number of ways.
Parenting plans and final orders can be as detailed as you see fit. The more detailed the parenting plan is, the less issues that can inevitably occur in the future.
By having a qualified mens divorce lawyer, such as the attorneys at Cordell & Cordell, properly draft a parenting plan, you can ensure you reduce the possibility of future legal expenses and arguments.