Summer vacation is nearby or already here for children across Illinois. Most children are eager to sleep in, go swimming, spend time outdoors and in general enjoy the pleasant weather that summer brings as well as all the fun activities that go with it. However, if a child’s parent is divorced, that parent may need to make summer child custody arrangements with their ex, in as cooperative manner as is possible.

First, when parents divorce, they will create a child custody schedule that will be included in their divorce decree. This schedule may differ in the summer months than it does the rest of the year. For example, the noncustodial parent may have an extended period of visitation in the summer in which they have the child in their care. This schedule should be reviewed each year by both parents. This way, parents can determine if any changes need to be made to the current child custody arrangements.

If a parent does find that they need to modify their summertime child custody arrangements, it is important that they do so in cooperation with their ex. If a modification is not negotiated and agreed-upon by the parents, parents may need to turn to the courts for a modification of a child custody order. What a parent should not do is simply leave with the child or in some other way violate the current child custody order. If that happens, the parent who should rightly have the child in their care may be able to take legal action against the absconding parent, which could negatively affect the amount of time the absconding parent has with the child.

Parents who are divorced may have to make extra efforts to ensure that summer is a time of pleasant memories for their child. This means they must cooperate to make sure their child custody arrangements go as planned. They should also make sure their child knows what these arrangements are, so there are no surprises. If a modification to a child support order needs to be made, parents can negotiate the changes or turn to the court to issue a ruling on the matter. When all parties agree on how they will handle custody during the summer, it can provide the child with the stability and support he or she needs to grow and thrive post-divorce.