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Summer break can pose visitation, child custody challenges

Schoolchildren in Dallas County are well into their summer vacations by now. For divorced parents with children, summer break can be a challenging time. Visitation schedules often must adapt to the children's summer activity calendars, and rolling with these changes can be hard on former spouses as well as their children.

There are a few things parents may find helpful to keep in mind during these times. Divorced partners may not always agree, but they will find it beneficial to try to keep communication respectful and calm. The rule of thumb when one parent makes a request should be: first try to agree, and only disagree if it is necessary to do so. Successful co-parenting requires maintaining a certain level of understanding between former spouses.

That is not to say, of course, that children's summer vacations mean the rules about parenting time get thrown out the window for three months. If either parent is not adhering to an agreement, it may be necessary to seek legal help in enforcing a child custody order. Such an order is legally binding and parents may be held in contempt of court for breaking it.

On the other hand, if divorced parents are finding that conditions have changed significantly since their child custody agreement was established, either or both may want to seek an agreement modification. This could be particularly worth pursuing if a child was too young for school at the time of the divorce, and the summer vacation months necessitate some additional stipulations regarding visitation rights.

Ultimately, both parents will typically want summer vacation to be a time to focus on their relationship with the children. When this leads to a dispute, however, a legal professional can help review the options available and discuss what a court will consider to be in the best interests of the child.

Source: Huffington Post, "Survival Guide for Visiting Kids aka Co-Parenting Etiquette 101: One Dozen Tips," Tara Fass, July 7, 2014

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