Summertime and the Sharing Should Be Easy

Summer 2021 is right around the corner, and fortunately, from our current vantage point, it seems like it’s going to look better than Summer 2020. While children may be required to attend school during the summer as a result of setbacks from the past year of remote learning, many families will find ways to return the rest of their lives to some semblance of normalcy over the summer.  

With the ever-increasing vaccine availability and the recent revisions to the CDC’s rules regarding the permitted/suggested behaviors of vaccinated individuals, children may not only be able to hug their (vaccinated) grandparents, but may be able to participate in outdoor camps (in a limited capacity), outdoor sports, and travel, too.

For divorced or separated parents, summertime can be slightly less exciting than for the children because court orders and separate households can feel restrictive when making summer plans. Also, paying for summer activities and vacations can be a stretch for many.  

Below are a few suggestions to get prepared for Summer 2021 to ensure that both the parents and the children, enjoy the “easy livin’” of the summertime:

  • Extension of School Schedule due to COVID:  School may be mandated for many children this summer due to setbacks in education as a result of remote learning during the pandemic.  This will no doubt interfere with summer plans and will likely cause court orders about summer vacation to be difficult if not impossible to implement.  Make sure to check your child’s academic calendar before planning your summer travel or your child’s summer activities. 
  • Discuss the expenses of camp and extracurricular activities with your co-parent before you enroll and discuss with the children:  If you want your children to attend soccer camp and participate in swimming lessons, discuss your intentions with your co-parent before you (1) discuss this with the children and (2) enroll the children in these activities.Most court orders require mutual consent for the children to participate in extracurricular and camp activities, as well as if you would like the other parent to contribute to the expense of the activities. The Court is highly protective of each parent’s designated custodial time; so, enrolling children in activities that may infringe upon your co-parent’s parenting time is highly frowned upon. Transparency and cooperation between co-parents is essential for a healthy co-parenting relationship.
  • Obtain your co-parent’s consent before you book your travel plans: If you are involved in an ongoing (pending) family law matter, you are bound by the Standard Family Law Restraining Orders which prevent you from taking your child outside of California without the written permission of the other parent or a court order.If you plan to travel internationally, you will need the cooperation of the other parent in either securing or renewing your child’s passport, as well as written permission for the travel. Take the time now to work out the travel logistics with your co-parent.  If agreements can not be reached then seeking the court’s permission will be required.  It is best practice to obtain agreements or a court order before booking and paying for travel expenses.  

While Summer 2021 is still a few months away, its best to start discussing your child’s summer plans with your co-parent now so you have time to deal with possible obstacles that may require court intervention. Planning ahead is always a good idea so that you and your children (as well as your co-parent) can enjoy the summer. Make sure that you can “smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly” as Van Morrison perfectly sang.