Both parents have rights and responsibilities related to minor children under Maryland law, so you may recall that you were required to address child custody and visitation issues in connection with divorce proceedings. Your Maryland parenting plan, which covers important decision-making and parenting time, becomes part of the court’s final divorce decree. Regardless of whether you made a joint agreement on the arrangement or the judge made a determination, the order for child custody and visitation is legally binding.
However, many parents encounter challenges when the parenting plan does not cover or provide sufficient details on what to do in the summer months. With children on school break, the arrangement may need an adjustment. You can trust a Maryland child custody lawyer for assistance with the legal tasks, but a checklist may offer some guidance.
How to Use This Summer Custody and Scheduling Checklist: Fulfilling your child’s needs is the top priority in developing a custody and visitation schedule for the summertime – and throughout the year. Maryland law requires all arrangements to comply with the best interests of the child standard, which encompasses several factors related to well-being, medical care, social development, and many others. As such, you should always put these and other relevant factors at the forefront as you are creating, negotiating, and implementing a summer custody schedule.
Checklist for Creating a Summer Custody Schedule: The specifics will depend upon your unique circumstances, but parents should address the following items when developing a plan for the summer months.
- List All Holidays: Summer is unofficially bookended by two major holidays, with the three-day weekends over Memorial Day and Labor Day. You might consider splitting these, and many parents would agree that the child will spend Father’s Day with his or her dad. You might opt to alternate Fourth of July every other year.
- Address Vacations: With kids off school for the summer, many parents will want to head away on vacation. Since you will probably also need to make arrangements to take off work, it is best to discuss getaways early so each parent has the opportunity for a fun escape.
- Plan for the Child’s Summer Activities: As children get older, they may be involved in sports, hobbies, music, and other activities. Many parents also consider summer camp for their children. Work these pastimes into your summer custody schedule so that your child doesn’t miss out on enrichment.
- Include Details for Logistics: Do not forget to address transportation for dropping off and/or picking up at each parent’s residence, as well as taking the child for activities. They may seem trivial, but the lack of details like this can lead to conflict between parents.
- Be Flexible: Though it is important to stick to the schedule, be prepared for the unexpected. One parent may be called into work or need to deal with a family emergency, so be patient and understanding about these predicaments.
- Never Intentionally Violate the Law: As frustrated as you may get when your child’s other parent does not comply with the summer schedule, do not take matters into your own hands. Maryland child custody laws impose serious consequences for knowing, willful interruptions of child custody arrangements.
A Maryland Child Custody Attorney Can Assist with Summer Schedules
While this checklist may be useful, you will still need assistance with the legal requirements and court process. Our team at The McKeon Law Firm can advise you on creating a summer custody schedule that works for your family, so please contact our firm to schedule a consultation with an experienced lawyer. You can reach our offices in Gaithersburg or Bethesda, MD by calling 301-417-9222 or 202-742-1800.