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Summer vacation plans and divorced parents

In the spring, divorced parents in Massachusetts should start thinking ahead to their summer plans. There may be a number of changes in children's schedules with more and different activities in comparison to the regular school year. Writing specific summer vacation plans into the parenting plan can help prevent conflict.

Making an effort to stick to agreed-upon visitation times is important for a child's well-being. If conflict does arise, parents should keep in mind that legally, child support cannot be withheld over visitation or custody issues. Mediation may be one way to come to an agreement. However, parents might have to go back to court, and if the situation becomes particularly difficult, it is possible to file a police report for visitation interference if necessary.

Communication is key. Studies show that children adjust better to a divorce when there is less conflict between parents, so parents should strive to cooperate if possible.

Learning some cooperative co-parenting techniques during a divorce can lead to a smoother relationship in the years after the divorce. Parents can also amend a parenting plan as needed over the years. Even if they initially write a detailed plan regarding holidays, vacations and other special circumstances, their own situations and those of their child will change over the years. It may also be possible to write a parenting plan that anticipates these changes or includes provisions for how changes will be approached. Whether it is during or after the divorce, parents who cannot work together to come to an agreement may have to go to court where a judge will make a decision based on the best interests of the child.

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