Maryland parents and children alike often chafe at the constraints of summer custody and visitation arrangements.
Non-custodial parents who spend extended chunks of time with their children over the summer break sometimes resent that they have to continue paying child support to their children’s other parent even though they are the ones who are currently responsible for the care and feeding of the kids. They think that they should get a break and not have to pay as much, or any, child support during the summer.
But that is definitely not the view of the Court. This is because, for one thing, child support is calculated based on the number of overnights spent with the children over the course of the whole year. Also, child support covers a wide swath of expenditures that don’t simply disappear because Mom or Dad has the kids for a few weeks or even months. Child support is regularly used to meet rent or mortgage payments or other ongoing expenses all 12 months of the year.
Imagine the chaos if the custodial parent was unable to afford to meet the housing obligations because the non-custodial parent withheld child support. Foreclosures and evictions would result in unstable living arrangements each summer. It would be unsustainable.
Another frequent complaint is that due to the kids spending more time at their other parent’s home, they don’t get to participate in summer sports leagues or spend time with friends like they would if they were with their custodial parent.
The key here is compromise. If Mom and Dad live too far apart for the kids to sign up for their hometown teams, the parent who has them during the summer may want to enroll them in summer activities like sports teams, camps or lessons in their own community.
The matter of separation from friends and boyfriends or girlfriends can be harder to overcome. Non-custodial parents can offer to host friends from back home for a long summer weekend or arrange to have a friend accompany their child on vacation.
Sometimes what happens is that the kids — and the parents — outgrow the custody arrangements they made when they first got divorced. Either party may petition the Maryland Courts for a custody or visitation modification that dovetails more fully with their changing needs.
Source: The Spruce, “5 Summer Parenting Questions Answered,” Jennifer Wolf, accessed June 23, 2017