Gregory S. Johnson, Attorney at Law
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A custody order doesn't have to ruin the summer

Even though your kids probably counted the days until school was out, for you and your ex-spouse, summer vacation may promise one big headache. With the kids out of school comes a new set of concerns about your custody agreement.

Whether you hope to take the children on a week-long vacation or you just want to be with them for random picnics or fireworks, a child custody order places certain limitations on your ability to pick up and go, particularly if you do not have physical or legal custody of the children. However, if your ex-spouse is willing to negotiate, the keys to a peaceful summer may be planning and communication.

Making a plan

Having a planning session with your ex-spouse may not sound like a pleasant experience, but it may result in a relaxing and fun-filled summer. You can present your suggestions for any changes to the custody schedule the summer may present. You may also wish to broach the subject of taking the children on vacation, including details such as:

  • When you plan to leave
  • Where you are going
  • How long you plan to stay
  • Who will be with you
  • What you plan to do

Even if your summer plan grants you more or less time with the children than during the school year, remember to continue making child support payments if the court has ordered you to do so. By law, you may not alter the amount of support you pay without a court ordered modification, which an attorney can help you seek if necessary.

Using your resources

In Louisiana, family courts are willing to defer to most custody plans the parents themselves create. If you and your spouse arrived at a reasonable agreement about how you will divide the time with your children, you may have saved your family a great deal of stress and anxiety. If your parenting plan does not include details about summer, including guidelines for scheduling vacations and options for holiday activities, you may decide to modify that plan.

To ensure the protection of your rights as you build your parenting plan or alter it for the summer months, you may wish to enlist the advice of an attorney to examine your proposed plan before submitting it to the court. An attorney with years of experience assisting parents undergoing divorce will have a sharp perspective and be able to offer guidance in areas you may not have considered. Once your plan is in place, your family can anticipate the good times of the summer ahead.

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