Tips for Divorced Parents Jointly Planning Children’s Summer Activities

Atlanta divorce lawyer Nancy Ghertner helps with custody and parenting plans.

The 2022 school year is ending, and parents are busy finalizing activities for their children like sports camps, art classes, and summer vacations. For newly divorced parents the job of a social director becomes a little trickier mainly because of the logistics that come from having two separate households. When a couple is still together it is easier to have a dinner discussion with the kids about what they want to do over the summer break. Both parents are in the room, and then as a couple, they can go online and start booking fun things to do.

When parents live apart, with the children spending most of their time with the custodial parent, the non-custodial parent can hear about potential plans sometimes after deposits already have been put down. I know it can be difficult to include your ex-spouse in all decision-making, especially since summer camps get booked up very quickly. Parents who have been down this road know that they need to plan children’s schedules 3 months in advance. This means that summer programs should be booked starting in March.

What I gently suggest is for both parents to honor each other’s time and willingness to help make summers special for their children. A legal document known as a divorce Settlement Agreement will stipulate which parent gets the children on major summer holidays like Memorial Day and Labor Day, but regular summer weeks should be worked out between the parents. This includes putting down on each activity’s application which parents are authorized to drop off and pick up the child, and still arranging play dates for younger children.

Also, I find it very helpful to let each other know about planned vacations, including a general itinerary and who is going besides the children.

Everyone involved in a divorce is learning how to navigate a new lifestyle, and of course, disagreements will be encountered. But in my 30 years of family law experience, I have witnessed the healing powers of accommodation and cooperation. Children need to feel secure in knowing what’s planned for them over the summer, so they can tell their friends and get back to just being kids.

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