Summer break is getting close, and, for some families, it’s already begun. This can bring some additional complications for families that are navigating co-parenting after a divorce or a change to their usual custody arrangement. Although summer can be a fun time for kids, it often causes more stress for parents. It’s important to plan ahead and try to focus on making a co-parented summer less stressful for your kids as well as you and your co-parent. A St. Charles child custody attorney can help you plan ahead.

Co-parenting arrangements are typically 50-50 or as close to equal as is practical. During summer break, parents rarely see changes in their own work schedules and other obligations, but their kids now have a lot of free time. Splitting up this significant amount of free time can be challenging.

Both parents want to spend this fun time with their kids, and they may have to shift custody schedules during this time of year. It’s important to remember to stay focused on your kids’ interests and work hard to make the transition easier for the whole family.

Tips for Co-Parenting During Summer Vacation

There are several ways that parents can ease the transition into summer vacation as custody schedules change. The most important thing is to prioritize communication with your co-parent and your children.

Tips for co-parenting this summer include:

Make a Plan in Advance

Before summer break begins, it’s helpful for you and your co-parent to sit down together or with a mediator to set up the parenting plan. This plan can address holidays and events that happen during the summer, and it can also set visitation and custody times for parents throughout the summer months.

A parenting plan helps each parent know their own responsibilities during summer break, and it can avoid conflict between parents. Having a written plan also gives parents something to refer back to. Parenting plans should also have some room for flexibility for unexpected changes.

Work on a Vacation Plan

Co-parents can collaborate on vacation plans, but they should, at the very least, inform each other of vacation plans before they occur. Collaborating on vacation plans can help determine certain logistics and options for fun vacations. It also ensures that parents respect each other’s limitations while giving children a fun vacation.

Maintain Consistent Schedules

Summer vacation is a great time for kids to let off the steam of the school year and have fun, but routine and consistent schedules are still important to maintain. Although some changes are understandable for a more relaxed summer routine, it’s important that parents communicate and have consistent expectations across households.

This includes similar bedtimes, chore expectations, summer work, and meal times. This helps give kids normalcy and stability as they adjust to the transition of summer vacation and being in separate households.

Prioritize Your Kids’ Interests

Parents should always consider their children’s interests first. Summer vacation is a needed break from school, and it’s important that both parents focus on quality time, meaningful experiences, and how children want to spend their vacations. Some kids may have specific hopes for the vacation. Be sure that you and your co-parent are not affecting your children’s enjoyment of their vacation by arguing or refusing to compromise and adjust to changes in life.

Remain Respectful and Patient When Communicating

It can be hard to be positive when communicating with your co-parent, particularly when you have severe disagreements about custody arrangements or vacation plans. Try to keep a professional and patient tone when planning and communicating throughout summer vacation. Being disrespectful or stubborn will likely result in many more problems. Maintaining communication and being respectful can help make it easier for both of you while setting a better example for your children.


Q: What Is the New Law for Child Custody in Missouri?

A: In August 2023, the new law for child custody in Missouri means that the family court assumes that joint custody is presumed to be in the child’s interests. Although many courts had a preference for joint or 50-50 custody, the law makes it a legal presumption. The court would have to be presented with evidence that joint custody is not in the child’s interests to assign different custody arrangements.

Q: How Do You Co-Parent With an Uncooperative Ex-Spouse?

A: When an ex-spouse is uncooperative, co-parenting is much harder, so it’s important to have a detailed and clear parenting plan. Effective co-parenting is easiest with communication, respect, and understanding, but an uncooperative parent can negate these methods. Instead, parents should have a parenting plan that:

  1. Sets clear boundaries
  2. Establishes a communication method that works
  3. Sets consistent rules across households
  4. Determines when and where children are picked up and dropped off
  5. Lists how parents resolve conflicts out of court
  6. States when conflict will need to be taken to court

In extreme cases, co-parenting may not be the right option for your family.

Q: What Does Healthy Co-Parenting Look Like?

A: Healthy co-parenting occurs when both parents focus on their children’s interests above everything else, and each respects their children’s time and relationship with the other parent. To facilitate healthy co-parenting, parents should be able to communicate clearly with each other about their children’s needs, their schedules, the rules in each household, and other important information.

Parents should be able to work through any disagreements they have with each other and put aside these issues to protect and support their children.

Q: At What Age Can a Child Choose Not to See a Parent in Missouri?

A: A child can only choose to not see a parent in Missouri when they are 18, which is when they are not a child but a legal adult. Before a child is 18, legal and biological parents have a right to see their child unless those rights have been removed by the court or the child is emancipated.

Prior to a child becoming 18, a child can express their wishes for child custody in Missouri, and the court will consider their wishes, but it does not have to listen to them.

Contact Stange Law Firm in St. Charles, MO

When you create your parenting plan, it should address holidays, including summer vacation. If your parenting plan doesn’t have these specifics, you may want to discuss your plan with a skilled child custody attorney to create a more effective parenting plan. Stange Law Firm can help you create or modify your custody schedule to make the summer vacation go more smoothly. Contact our firm today.