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Summer Dreams for Separated Families

Summer holidays are approaching and if you are co-parenting it’s important to pay attention to the details of your holiday schedule to avoid conflict.   There is nothing worse for a child of separated parents to dread holidays and special events because their parents have not managed the details.

First, pick your holiday times in accordance with the parenting plan set out in your court order or Separation Agreement.   Once your holiday dates are chosen, the rest of the summer should follow the regular schedule.

However, a word to the wise: get out the family calendar and mark down the vacation weeks, the regular schedule and note holidays and special events.   If you foresee problems, such as the regular weekend, plus a statutory weekend plus vacation means the children are with one parent three weeks in a row, then it’s time to make some adjustments. 

 Ideally parents should use common sense and flexibility to make adjustments, but when things are less than ideal a Parenting Coordinator can be a great help with making these minor changes.   Parenting Coordinators mediate and can decide minor parenting issues without the need to return to court.

Don’t forget if you are travelling during the summer outside of Canada to share travel details with the other parent and to get the children’s passports and a travel letter authorizing the children’s holidays prepared well in advance.

If you do not have a court order or agreement in place or have an ongoing high conflict parenting situation, holidays can become holy sh*t days for both separated parents and kids.    It’s very emotional when special things do not work out.  

My very best advice when your best laid holiday plans don’t’ work out, both as a family lawyer and a mom who has had less than ideal holidays and vacations post-separation, is to think of your kids before you react and remember, there’s going to be another summer day, and it will get better.

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