Divorce is far trickier than you could imagine. There were 7.6 new divorces per 1,000 American women in 2019.
It’s one thing to separate from your spouse, and it’s another to negotiate child custody. A 20/80 shared custody gives both parents opportunities to be with their child. It may seem straightforward, yet the summer break can throw some obstacles in your way.
What parenting schedule should you adopt? Can you accommodate midweek visits or summer vacations? What should you do about overnights and special events at summer camp?
Answer these questions and you can create the perfect shared custody schedule for this summer. Here is your quick guide.
You and your co-parent can decide on any shared custody plan you want. Take a look at a few custody and visitation schedules so you know how parenting after a divorce can work.
In general, 20/80 shared custody plans involve pre-assigned weekends. The parent with 20% custody will take over during the weekends so the child’s schedule is not disrupted.
The alternating weekend schedule keeps the child at home with the parent with 80% custody during the week. Every other weekend, the child goes to the other parent.
If this schedule is a little too confusing, you can assign particular weekends every month. Many parents like the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends schedule. This gives an opportunity for the parent with 20% custody to have custody for back-to-back weekends, letting them engage in projects with their child.
Exchange times can take place whenever you want. Some parents choose to exchange custody on Friday evenings and Monday mornings during the summer. This gives the child an opportunity to spend the entire weekend with their parent.
A 20/80 parenting plan can involve a lot of travel. To minimize the inconvenience, you can opt for a birdnesting housing arrangement.
Your child stays in one home, and you and your co-parent cycle out of it. You and your co-parent can share a home, or each of you can find your own housing.
You can incorporate midweek visits while keeping to an alternating weekend schedule. You can do this in a few different ways.
The parent with less custody can take control on an afternoon during the week. The other parent can attend meetings or appointments without worrying about their child. The time they spend during the week can get taken out of their weekend custody, or you can allow for a few extra hours.
You and your co-parent can spend time together on a weekday. If you’re not comfortable being with your co-parent, you can ask a family member to watch over your child. Use this as an opportunity for your child to spend time with a grandparent or another loved one.
Most parents can accommodate summer camp into their parenting plan easily. However, there are a few circumstances that can affect your shared parenting plan.
Your child may have an overnight stay during the time when the parent with 20% custody has custody. The parent with 20% custody can take over at a different time or get extended time on a weekend.
The camp may need chaperones for an event. The parent who has custody during the event can serve as a chaperone. If both of you are busy, a grandparent or another relative can serve as one.
If your child is participating in an event like a concert, both of you can attend. You can sit in different sections of the venue and meet with your child afterward.
You can handle the expenses of summer camp in whatever way makes sense to you. The parent with 80% custody can pay most of the expenses, though the parent with 20% should chip in. You can split the costs of overnight stays and day trips, or the parent with custody during those trips can pay for them.
One of you can take your child on a vacation during their summer break. Both of you should have a conversation about the vacation just so you know where your child is. If it doesn’t interfere with your custody schedule, the conversation can be a simple one about what the vacation plans are.
If it does interfere with the schedule, you should figure out a compromise. The other parent can take the child on their own vacation, or they get extra time with their child during the week.
The parent who is arranging the vacation should be responsible for the expenses. It is unfair for someone to pay for a vacation that they are not involved in. If you are both going on vacation together, you both can pay for it.
If money is a problem for you, you should scale your vacation down. You can bring your child to another state or do a daycation. You remain at home and do something fun that you haven’t done before, like going to an art museum.
You should be in constant contact with your co-parent. You can use phone calls, social media, and co-parenting apps to remain in communication with each other.
Both of you deserve to know if your child is going through something like a medical emergency. Get in contact with your co-parent right away and figure out how both of you can offer support. If your child is in the hospital, both of you should be there to affirm your child.
Don’t worry about your custody schedule until the emergency has passed. If your child needs additional support, both of you can see or speak to your child every day. Talk to the staffers at your child’s summer camp so they know what is going on.
Creating the Perfect 20/80 Shared Custody Summer Schedule
You have to put some work into your 20/80 shared custody schedule. You can select an alternating weekend arrangement, and you can accommodate midweek visits.
You must talk to your co-parent about how to handle summer camp. Be flexible so you can serve as a chaperone and attend your child’s performances.
Communicate with your co-parent so you can talk about vacations and emergencies. Both of you can take your child wherever you want if it doesn’t interfere with custody.
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