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Learn how to make summer custody schedules work

If you are a parent who shares custody of your child with his or her other parent, you probably already realize that summer custody plans can get pretty complicated.

Often both parents are planning vacations and have to adjust work and custody schedules accordingly. When the parents get along reasonably well, this may not be a problem, but when there is acrimony remaining from the split, it can get nasty. Below are some tips for making summer custody work for all.

-- Remain flexible. Even when the custody calendar specifies certain dates and times for visitation, keeping an open mind and being flexible can foster a lot of good will in the other parent. That's something you may need yourself in the future, so keep this in mind.

-- Plan ahead. While it may not always be possible to schedule vacations months in advance, give the other parent as much notice as you can. Remember that they have to arrange their schedules too, and if they have other children or partners, it can get really complicated on short notice. Also, children don't thrive in chaotic environments.

-- Learn to give to get. If your ex wants to deviate from the custody schedule, it's okay to use this as a bargaining chip for reciprocity at some future date. State your willingness to work together, but that you expect the same in return.

-- To avoid the let down feelings that can develop when your kids are with their other parent, plan a spa trip or some fun activities of your own on those days. If you've been wanting to take a girls' weekend or a fishing junket with the guys from work, this is a good time to indulge.

-- Show your children that you have good conflict negotiation skills. When you need to request changes to the custody agreement, act like an adult and handle it without ever involving the children. If problems develop between the two of you, you can always request assistance from your family law attorney.

Source: Huffington Post, "5 Tips to Prevent Discord While Sharing Custody of the Children Over the Summer," Steve Mindel, June 07, 2016

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