When Summer Represents Loss

Child Custody: Summer Visitation for Non-Custodial Parents

As the school year comes to an end, many families are preparing to send children off to summer camp programs. For some children, however, summer camp programs will be shortened by the visitation requirements within the divorce decree of their parents. For these children, a myriad of emotions may persist from elation to total disappointment with regard to the imposition child visitation, and their parent’s divorce, may play on the outcome of their lives and activities during the summer break from school.For children of parents who are separated by significant distance, the visitation of a child with a non-custodial parent, during summer months, can lead to complex emotions. With many children separated from non-custodial parents by geographical distance throughout the school year, children of divorce become, to some extent, unattached to that same non-custodial parent. As a result, when visiting a non-custodial parent during the summer months, it may take several days or weeks for the parent and child to re-connect and feel comfortable with the summer visitation experience.For non-custodial parents who intend to spend time with their children for extended periods in the summer, preparing well in advance, including arrangements at their place of employment, will work to ensure time with the child, during visitation is well scheduled in advance. Professionally, the non-custodial parent should work to take necessary measures to ensure the child is provided with appropriate summer activities and supervision while the non-custodial parent is at work, using vacation days and PTO as needed to spend quality time with the child during the summer visitation period.

Emotionally and mentally, when preparing to spend time with your child during the summer visitation period, the non-custodial parent should work through feelings of anger and hurt which linger and may still be associated with the divorce, before the child comes to visit in the summer. Expressing negative feelings or comments to the child, with regard to the custodial parent, will only serve to alienate the child and, may, result in adverse interaction between the child and the non-custodial parent during the summer visitation period. What is important to understand, as the non-custodial parent, is the child’s degree of loyalty to the custodial parent. As a result, inquiring of issues or activities of the custodial parent is highly discouraged and, instead, the non-custodial parent should focus on topics of discussion involving the child, exclusively, coupled with discussions regarding the child and non-custodial parent’s relationship, during the summer visitation period.

In addition to professional and emotional preparedness, non-custodial parents should remain actively involved in the child’s life throughout the school year, prior to summer visitation. Be prepared to discuss and engage the child in conversations surrounding achievements and activities which took place during the school year. In doing so, the child may develop a sense of interest from the non-custodial parent and, in turn, create a more solid bond.

As with any child visitation or child custody arrangements, maintaining involvement with a child’s activities and life will provide for the most optimal outcome when summer visitation arrives. From parents who are actively involved to parents who are displaced by geographical distance, maintaining communication with the child, throughout the year, will ensure a more pleasant transition through the summer visitation period.

 About The Author

Christine Cadena

Yahoo! Contributor Network

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