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A full and comprehensive parenting plan is helpful not just to both parents, but also the children involved. It allows everyone in the family to have stability and, when drafted correctly, often prevents misunderstanding and confusion. If you draft a parenting plan but do not include a schedule for summer vacation, and/or parameters for the children to actually go on vacation, issues will often arise. Unfortunately, since the family courts tend to be reactive and not proactive, that also often means that the courts cannot address a parent’s concerns regarding summer vacation in a timely manner.

When you draft a parenting plan, whether is a shared plan, or whether it indicates that one parent has primary physical custody and the other parent has visitation, it is imperative to be detailed. Many parents will say that they get along “just fine,” and don’t need to have an agreement in writing. While that may be true at that point in time, that does not always remain the case. We generally advise clients to put all of the details in writing and, if the parents are in agreement to deviate from the parenting plan, then they can certainly do so. However, if they do have a disagreement, at least they have something to fall back on. Ideally, parents will communicate with each other and work together for the best interest of their children. That said, it does not always play out that way and it is helpful to everyone to have an agreement in place if a disagreement does arise.

A parenting plan should address parenting time for both parents and should also include provisions to address holidays, school breaks, summer vacation and even unexpected circumstances such as when a child is sick and needs to stay home from school, or when there is a snow day. In addition to this, it is helpful to indicate how long each parent is allowed to travel with the minor child(ren), how often and what travel itinerary details are necessary, if any. Also, the agreement should specify how, if at all, this would affect the other parent’s parenting time and if any make up time is to be scheduled. Since most children are not in school during the summer, there are often decisions to be made about camps or alternative childcare and which parent is responsible for such. Your parenting plan should address not only the logistics pertaining to this scheduling change, but also the financial side of summer plans for your children.

If you have not yet considered these details and are about to finalize a parenting plan for a divorce or custody matter, you should consult with an attorney. It is far easier to incorporate these concepts into a parenting plan before it is finalized with the court, rather than opening a matter to modify it subsequently.


Wolf & Shore Law Group is here to make drafting your parenting plan easier, not harder. Ever argue with a woman? Contact us today, and let us help you negotiate the best parenting plan for your family.  Call us at 203.745.3151 or email us at


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