What can be a joyous time for some children and parents–the last day of school–can be filled with fear and anxiety for others. We know that this time of year brings increased litigation around summer schedules, travel details and passports. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re feeling stuck or pressured. Please also follow us at @queenofcustody on Instagram for inspiration on this coparenting journey.
At least for today focus less on the changes that may be coming this summer and ensure that your children feel celebrated for finishing another school year.
If they are excited about going away with the other parent for the summer, confirm for them that you are excited that they are excited and that you will find ways to fill your time. Children can be concerned about your loneliness/sadness. You can strike a balance in letting them know you’ll miss them terribly but are excited about this time of fun for them with the other parent.
If they are anxious about going, but it is ordered that they go and there are no safety concerns, do your best to get them excited. Help them pack. Pack things that will make them feel comfortable. Sending them with nothing, to spite your ex, harms them more than your ex. Even if contact is limited while they are gone, come up with some creative ways to “stay in touch”. For instance, not only will you call them regularly, but you will write/email and nightly they can look up at the stars at a certain time and you’ll be doing the same–should they miss you and want to feel connected. Plan some bookend events so that you, too, get to enjoy some downtime with them.
If you’re the parent who has no access to your child but wants it, then start the process (both communicating with your coparent and child and maybe talking to an attorney). How long or short that process is will depend on how long you’ve been absent. While your constitutional rights should be fought for, consider doing it in a way that is deliberate yet respectful of the changes your child will experience. If the other parent isn’t on board, we have judges that will get them on board, again, absent safety concerns.
Lastly, whether you have the children or not, treat your coparent the way you want to be treated. Allow more phone access than the order requires and more than they do when they have the kids. Send photos. Ensure passports and travel information is exchanged in a timely fashion. Perhaps if you set a positive tone, they will rise to the occasion.
School year ’18-’19 will be here before we know it. Enjoy this time while you have it.