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Don't let summer vacation strain your custody arrangements

One of the hardest things about getting divorced is often dealing with shared custody of your children. Even if you receive primary custody during the divorce, you will likely be missing your children on weekends or on the holidays when they're with your former spouse. The summer months can be a great time to alleviate some of those issues. Because your children are home from school, you can potentially spend more time with them, as can your ex-spouse. However, even with all of that extra time, it's easy for disagreements about visitation, vacation and holidays to cause a lot of issues during the summer.

Even if you and your former spouse have a very specific visitation and custody arrangement, it's quite common for things to change in the summer. Maybe your former spouse wants to take the kids on an out-of-state vacation for a full week. Perhaps you have a family reunion on a weekend when your former spouse has custody. A lot of different situations could come up that will demand flexibility and compromise from you and your former spouse during summer vacation. Discussing these potential issues as soon as possible is in the best interest of both parents and the children.

Summer months should be fun months, not full of fighting

Summer can hold some hidden burdens for custodial parents, such as increased child care expenses during the week. That drain on your budget can leave you feeling stressed and frustrated, which could keep you from feeling flexible when your ex requests special accommodations.

Refusing to change weekends or allow for an extra day or two could result in a lot of resentment, both from your former spouse and eventually from your children. While you want to stand up for your own rights, it's also important to consider what will result in the best summer for everyone in your family.

Being willing to compromise can help you maintain a healthier relationship with your former spouse. It can also work in your favor if you need special consideration for something, like extra child care expenses. If you're still in the process of getting divorced, this first summer can help you and your former spouse figure out what kind of custody arrangements and special rules are best for your situation. Perhaps child support needs to be adjusted to reflect the cost of summer child care, or you need to budget to save for that expense.

An attorney can help if you have to change your parenting plan

If your divorce is already finalized, you can insist that all visitation and custody is exactly in line with your arrangements, but it's also possible your former spouse could request that the courts adjust them. In that case, you will want to work with an experienced Maine family law lawyer who can ensure that the best interest of the children is upheld by the courts. Your attorney can help you negotiate adjustments to the parenting plan and custody schedule or request that the courts enforce it as it is written. If you and your former spouse can't agree, the help of an attorney can prove invaluable.

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