What's your favorite part of summer? Like many Kentucky parents, spending more time with your kids, who are likely on vacation from school, may be at the top of your list. If this summer is unique for your family because it's the first one since your divorce, you may be concerned as to whether you and your ex will be able to amicably navigate the summer vacation schedule without running into custody, visitation or support problems.
It's helpful to talk to others who have trod the path before you. Ask your friends and family members who are divorced and have children if they can offer tips for smooth sailing in your co-parenting arrangement as well as on the water, if you and your children enjoy boating activities. The great thing about advice is that you can take it or leave it. If a legal problem threatens your summer fun, there are also places to turn for support on that front as well.
Ways to keep post-divorce stress low during summer
Whether you're the custodial or noncustodial parent, it's never a bad idea to try to spend more time with your kids. This summer is different for them, too, and you may be able to help them adapt to their new lifestyle more easily if you make sure they have ample amounts of time with both their parents. The following list includes other ideas that may be useful as you navigate your first summer after divorce:
- You might feel a bit awkward, planning outings as a single parent when you're used to being a twosome with kids. Not only is it okay to go hiking, on a picnic, to your favorite amusement park or out to lunch, it may be just the ticket to lighten the mood and start building new, happy memories as a family.
- Most children thrive on structure and routine, especially following divorce. By keeping your kids engaged in the running of the household, such as chores or lawn maintenance, you provide a sense of normalcy and show that life goes on, even when major changes take place.
- Beyond structure, spontaneity may also help boost your kids' moods, especially if they're feeling a little down about not having both parents under one roof anymore. Surprise them by staying up late to watch movies with them one night or plan a special outing to a nearby lake.
- It's never a good idea to impede your children's ability to communicate with their other parent. It's normal to want some privacy and you definitely don't have to share every detail of how you and your kids spend your time together, but it's always best to allow them to keep open lines of communication with your ex.
- It's also good to touch base with your former spouse, so you're both aware of the other's summer plans with the kids. This is especially true if one of you plans to leave the state or travel abroad.
Your children will still want to see extended family members, even those on your former spouse's side of the family. If you and your ex are willing to cooperate and compromise for your kids' sake, there shouldn't be any reason you can't overcome minor obstacles that arise and have a pleasant, post-divorce summer.
What about the major obstacles?
You definitely wouldn't be the first Kentucky parent to need legal support regarding post-divorce, summer-time issues if a major problem arises. If your spouse refuses to adhere to a court order or is otherwise negatively affecting your parent/child relationships, it may be time to sail your parenting ship back to court so a judge can help you re-navigate your course.