Bucks County Child Custody Cases – How Summer Vacation Affects Child Custody Arrangements

Summer is just around the corner, and parents often look forward to spending extra quality time with their children during that time of year.  This also holds true for divorced or separated parents in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  Children and parents are extremely busy during the school year and oftentimes have conflicting schedules.  Children are in school all day, and many parents are at work.  After school, in addition to having homework, many children participate in other activities, such as sports and music, and have social commitments with friends from school.  Similarly, parents have their own after-work obligations, whether it be work events, running errands, preparing dinner or performing some other chore.  As a result, there is not a lot of time for parents to spend meaningful time with their children.

In the summer, though many kids are enrolled in some type of camp, they don’t have any school obligations and generally have more free time. Although most parents work year round, they often save up their vacation time and use it during the summer and may want to plan out of state vacations.  With respect to divorced or separated parents in particular, they may want to make changes to a custody arrangement that is in place during the school year, such as adding midweek overnight visits or prolonged vacations.

Related: Doylestown, Bucks Co. Child Custody – Planning for the Holidays

Different Custody Arrangements in the Summer

Though there may be a certain set custody schedule during the school year, there nevertheless may be a different custody agreement during the summer.  Parents can come to an agreement and create their own summer custody and visitation schedule, or they can do so using a PA divorce and child custody lawyer.  If parents are at odds with each other, it is best to consult an experienced Doylestown or Newtown divorce and child custody lawyer.  Below are two examples of summer custody arrangements, which may differ from the arrangement in place during the school year.

1.     The Parents Share Custody Equally During the Summer.

Consider the case where one parent has primary physical custody during the school year, and the other parent has partial physical custody during the school year.  For example, mother has primary physical custody of a child during the school year, and father has partial physical custody on alternating weekends.  This may be driven, in part, by conflicts between the father’s work schedule and the child’s school schedule, so that it is more convenient to have such an arrangement during the school year. However, during the summer months, when the child is not bound by a rigid school schedule, both mother and father may agree to have shared physical custody by dividing the child’s summer break equally.  For instance, if there are 10 weeks of summer vacation, each parent can have custody of the child for 5 weeks during the summer.

2.     One Parent Has Custody for the Entire Summer.

Another potential summer custodial arrangement is one where the child stays with one parent for the entire summer. This arrangement may work in a divorce or separation situation where one parent lives outside of Pennsylvania and does not see the child very much during the school year, given the obvious logistical challenges.  Of course this drastic change to the custodial arrangement will undoubtedly be difficult for the parent who does not have custody during the summer.  However, both parties can come to an agreement where the non-custodial summer parent may visit the child once a week or alternating weekends during the summer, so as to make the arrangement more balanced.

Keep the Peace

Sometimes, when a parent wants a summer custody arrangement that differs from the status quo, it may cause some issues between the divorced/separated parents.  For the sake of the children, divorced/separated couples need to communicate with each other.  If you think that there may be an issue with a custody arrangement that you cannot easily resolve on your own, it would be best to talk to a PA child custody lawyer.  Call the child custody lawyers at Zlock & Coverdale® to schedule a consultation.