If you’re a Pennsylvania parent who has recently divorced, you undoubtedly will continue to interact with your ex as you move on in life simply because you have children together and must correspond regarding their lives, provision and care. While it may seem odd at first to have to live in accordance with a written, court-approved parenting plan, it’s the state’s way of protecting the rights and interests of all involved.
Summer vacation time tends to prompt many challenges when it comes to co-parenting after divorce. Even if you and your former spouses are on friendly terms, work schedules, personal preferences, extended family situations, finances and any number of other issues can interfere your ability to truly enjoy summer with your kids. There are several things you can to avoid major post-divorce trouble in summer. It’s best to know your rights and how to quickly access support if needed.
Never deviate from your court order
The bottom line is that unless and until the court grants permission for you to change something in your current court-approved parenting plan, neither you nor your ex can ignore its terms. Let’s say your court order says your kids are to spend half the summer with you and half with their other parent. If something comes up, such as the other parent’s job has required unexpected travel or more time at the office, and you plan to have your children for some of the time listed in the court order as the other parent’s time, you must seek the court’s approval before carrying out your plan.
Keep your ex in the loop
When you divorce, you no longer have a spouse in your household to whom you feel obligated to share your plans or keep informed about various goings on in your life. Your former spouse has a right to stay actively involved in your children’s lives, and summer break will be a lot less stressful if you make sure your kids have easy access to their other parent at all times. Letting your ex know where you’re staying on vacation and providing contact information and travel dates will help prevent trouble.
Create a summer break calendar
Life is busy, and like most Pennsylvania parents, you probably have several events and activities planned for your kids this summer in addition to whatever they may have going on with their other parent. It can be difficult to keep it all straight, such as transportation plans, which camp or sports clinic is at which time, who’s taking who where, etc. You might want to try creating a summer break calendar. A calendar hanging in a conspicuous location helps everyone stay organized and avoid disputes.
If you hit a roadblock because your spouse refuses to adhere to your court-approved parenting plan or otherwise tries to undermine your parental authority or impede your parent/child relationship, you need not sit back and let summer break fall apart. There are immediate support resources available to help you rectify such situations.