Summer is here and for children in Colorado whose parents have divorced, summer may mean that a child custody and parental visitation schedule will be followed that is different from the one followed in the school year. For example, during the school year, one parent may have custody of the child on weekdays, and the other parent may have visitation every-other weekend. However, oftentimes in the summer the noncustodial parent will have an extended period of visitation with the child, such as one month. In addition, both parents may want to take the child on a vacation that differs from their normal custody and visitation periods. It is important, then, to ensure any changes to a custody and visitation plan are lawful, in order to avoid unwanted surprises and conflicts.

If a child custody order designates when each parent will have the child in their care during the summer, parents should try to stick to this schedule. Reasonable changes may be accommodated, for example, taking the child on a week-long road trip. However, if a parent is constantly submitting motions to change the summer custody schedule, it could cause a great deal of disruption. This disruption can affect the child, who needs stability following a divorce. And, if parents make last minute demands, it could lead to emotionally and financially costly litigation.

Parents should also keep the child’s needs in mind. What works for a toddler may not work for a teenager. Parents need to work together to address these needs, and ensure they are on the same page with regards to summer activities the child is signed up for. Each parent should also talk about the summer custody and visitation schedule, to ensure the child knows what to expect.

If a parent wishes to modify a child custody and visitation order, they will need to file a motion with the court to do so. In the end, the court will make a decision that is in the best interests of the child. Summer should be relaxing for children and parents alike. By remaining civil, keeping the lines of communication open and being flexible, both parents and their children can enjoy their summer, despite a divorce.