DiLorenzo & Rush | Counselors of Law
Stepping Up & Standing Out

How to not let custody disputes ruin your summer plans

On Behalf of | May 20, 2024 | Family Law

The arrival of summer means schedule changes and other adjustments for busy families who live in Bergen County or the other suburban areas of the greater New York City area.

Despite the challenges summer presents, the time also can be a lot of fun for families who take vacations or do other things together that they would not be able to do during the school year.

But for single parents who share parenting responsibilities with a former spouse or romantic partner, the stress of custody and visitation disputes over the summertime can ruin what is supposed to be an enjoyable season.

There are ways to avoid common custody disputes:

  • Many disputes happen because of conflicting vacation or travel plans. It is best to plan summer travel far in advance and to communicate these plans clearly and often.
  • Summer activities often cause schedule changes that can conflict with parenting time. Parents will ideally agree on which of the children’s activities are important. On a related note, both parents should ordinarily have an equal opportunity to participate in their children’s activities.
  • Even if things appear to be going well with the other parent, a parent should review their court orders carefully to make sure they understand their rights and responsibilities. They should do so in advance of the summer season.
  • It may be helpful to spell out summer plans in detail and in writing with the parent just to avoid miscommunications. In some situations, it may be prudent to file these agreements with the court.
  • Parents should remember that courts in both New Jersey and New York make decisions based on the best interests of the children. On a practical level, parents should make sure that their decisions show that they are putting the needs of their children before their own.
  • The current thinking is that parents serve their children’s interest better if they can work out their differences with minimal anger and conflict.

Parents may have to understand their legal options in the event of a dispute

Unfortunately, some relationships between parents are just contentious even if one parent is doing their best to avoid conflict. There are also situations such as addiction or abuse that can make cooperation between parents more difficult.

Finally, there are some situations a parent cannot in good conscience tolerate.

Hopefully, parents will not have to spend their summers dealing with custody and visitation issues through legal channels. If it does come to litigation, parents need to advocate for their children.