Time for a Spring Custody CheckupMarch 29, 2018
As spring and summer approach, it is time to pull out your custody agreements and orders to refresh your recollection regarding precisely what your schedule provides for. Too often parents become complacent about the schedule. You have almost made it through the school year and a routine has been established. But remember, spring and summer and the end of school may mean a change to the schedule. Checking your schedule early can eliminate unwelcome surprises over the next few months.
Easter weekend is upon us. But on some school calendars, this weekend and perhaps the following week are designated as spring break. Does your custody arrangement provide for a sharing Easter weekend or Spring break? In the alternative, the schedule may give one parent the entire vacation this year with the other parent receiving the time slot next year. Remember too that often times snow days eliminate some of the spring break or Easter holiday days. It is important that you verify what your schedule provides and be prepared to adjust your plans if necessary.
Memorial Day and Labor Day are handled differently in many orders or agreements. Check your schedule to refresh your recollection as to how these holidays are handled under the terms of your arrangement. Does Memorial Day or Labor Day mean just the Monday holiday? Does it alternate or attach to the weekend of the parent who would have custody under the regular custody schedule? Is the entire holiday weekend alternated? If so when does the holiday begin and when does it end? No schedule is right or wrong – the important thing is to check your schedule now so that you can plan appropriately.
As with Memorial Day and Labor Day, the schedules for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can have a number of different variables. Be sure to check your specific custodial arrangement so that you are sure exactly when Mother and Father have custody.
July 4th frequently presents problems since most schedules define the holiday as a one day holiday celebrated on July 4th. It can be alternated or simply assigned to the parent who would have custody on the holiday under the normal custody schedule. Unfortunately, it has been my experience that parents are inclined to forget about the holiday when planning summer vacations. They frequently discover after travel plans are completed that the chosen week for vacation includes the 4th of July and that holiday belongs to the other parent. Checking your schedule now will enable you to schedule your vacation to avoid a potential conflict.
Finally, be sure to check your summer schedule. Frequently the end of the academic school year brings a new schedule. If that is the case, parents need to be on the same page as to when the “summer” schedule starts and when it reverts to the school year schedule. Remember too – there have been a number of snow days this year. These snow days frequently require an adjustment the last day of school and to the division of the summer weeks. The adjustment can be made with far less stress if the situation is addressed now rather than on the last day of school.
Even in those cases where the summer schedule remains the same as the school year schedule, most agreements or orders provide for each parent to have an uninterrupted period of time to vacation with the children. There is usually a date by which notice must be given of a parent’s intent to exercise the vacation period (e.g. 30 days in advance of the planned vacation). However, it is always advisable to give notice as soon as you know your vacation plans rather than waiting until the last minute. By giving early notice, the dates can get locked in on the calendar and assure that your vacation happens on schedule.
To assure an uneventful summer, at least from the custody perspective, pull out your custody schedule now and review the calendar to assure that everyone is on the same page.