Determining fair parenting time is one of the most complicated and emotional tasks that arises during divorce or separation proceedings. Even parents who are on good terms may struggle to come up with a plan that works for both parties, the children, and remains flexible enough to accommodate schedule changes. For many parents, it is often more challenging to achieve this balance during the summer months.
Under Minnesota law, parenting time is a legal right in almost all circumstances and courts have the authority to impose a schedule if the parents cannot agree. However, it is usually in the best interest of all involved parties to reach a voluntary agreement. When this is the case, it is important for the parenting agreement to specifically address the summer months. To help avoid complications that vacation schedules may cause, consider the following points when drafting your parenting time plan:
- If exchanges typically take place at school, other arrangements should be available for the summer.
- Parenting time schedules should clearly establish ground rules for family vacations, including the amount of advance notice each parent must receive.
- Parenting time schedules should specify what types of family vacations and destinations are acceptable and who should bear the expense.
- The custodial parent should anticipate that the noncustodial parents might want to increase parenting time during the summer months.
- Parenting time schedules should account for summer holidays.
Even when divorced or separated parents are able to communicate, it is still wise to have assistance when drafting a plan for parenting time. An experienced Elk River family law attorney can help you avoid the common oversights, ambiguities and omissions that may lead to confusion and discord in a parenting time plan.