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Child Custody and Visitation During Summer Break

summer vacationBy: Christy O’Brien, Esq.

Summer break can bring significant changes to timesharing schedules. With school out, parents often need to adjust their timesharing arrangements to accommodate their children’s free time. The key is to prioritize the children’s best interests while ensuring both parents maintain a strong bond and quality time with them. Below are some important considerations:

Modifying Timesharing Schedules

Many parenting plans include specific provisions for summer break visitation. If not, parents can temporarily modify their existing timesharing schedule through a written agreement or court order. Common options include:

  • Alternating weeks between parents
  • Splitting the summer break equally in half
  • Allowing one parent to have the majority of the summer

The goal is to find a balanced arrangement that minimizes disruptions to the children’s routine while maximizing quality time with each parent.

Summer Vacation Travel

If one or both parents plan to travel during the summer, advanced planning is crucial. Out-of-state or international travel typically requires consent from both parents and may involve modifying the timesharing schedule accordingly. Failure to obtain proper consent could result in legal consequences.

Increased Expenses and Child Support Modifications

Summer often brings additional expenses like camps, activities, and childcare costs. If these expenses significantly impact a parent’s financial situation, they may request a temporary child support modification to account for the increased costs during the summer months.

Maintaining Stability and Routine

While summer allows for more flexibility, it’s still important to maintain some structure and routine for the children. Consistent rules, schedules for meals and bedtimes, and open communication between parents can minimize disruptions and provide a sense of stability.

The summer break is an opportunity for quality family time, but it can also present challenges for divorced or separated parents. By prioritizing the children’s best interests, remaining flexible, and working cooperatively with the other parent, summer visitation can be a rewarding experience for all involved.

Court-Ordered Timesharing Schedule

There are a few legal options for parents in Florida who cannot agree on a summer break schedule. If parents cannot agree through negotiation or mediation, the court may impose a summer visitation schedule based on the Florida Standard Parenting Time Plan guidelines. This provides the following for the non-custodial parent:

  • Two weeks of uninterrupted timesharing during the summer break, with the specific dates to be agreed upon by the parents.

The court will consider factors such as the child’s best interests, each parent’s work schedule, and the ability to maintain stability and routines when determining the summer schedule.


The court may order parents to attend mediation with a neutral third-party mediator to attempt to reach a mutually agreeable summer visitation plan before the court imposes its own schedule. Mediation allows parents to have more control over the arrangement.

Parenting Coordinator

In some cases, the court may appoint a parenting coordinator to assist the parents in developing a summer timesharing schedule and resolving any conflicts that arise. The coordinator’s recommendations are then submitted to the court for approval.

The key is for parents to make a good faith effort to negotiate a fair summer timesharing plan that prioritizes the child’s best interests. If they cannot agree, the court will impose a schedule which may not be ideal for either parent. Seeking legal counsel can help guide parents through this process.

Those needing assistance may reach me at to schedule a consultation.

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