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Changes in Seasonal Custody: Mental Health Guides for Divorced Parents

This is a Guest Post from Perry Warren of Maselli Warren, PC.

Adjusting to sharing your child’s time with your ex-spouse is a difficult transition. In many cases, adjustments in child custody happen over the summer when your son or daughter is done with school for the year. If you have custody during the winter months, you might feel like you’ve done the hard work of parenting only to give the “fun time” to ex wife or husband. Getting wrapped up in the perceived fairness of the deal doesn’t do your child any justice, which is the most important part of the equation. Here are some tips our lawyers give to every family law client who walks through our doors.

Support a Positive Environment for your Children

Infusing your children with lingering resentment you may have for your failed relationship does them no good. Encourage your children and emphasize the fun they’re going to have at spending the summer with their mom or dad. They’re not going to just to visit, but to build on their parental relationship and maintain the sense of family that your divorce has brought into question for them. Smile – even if it kills you – and never bad mouth your ex spouse in the presence of your children.

Stay in Contact While They’re Away

Just because the kids went away for the summer doesn’t mean you have to become a ghost. Send text messages, call, check in Facebook regularly, whatever it takes to let them know that you still care about them and are interested in what they’re doing. Work with your ex on this to make sure you’re not stepping on any toes and infringing on their custodial time. It’s only fair.

Communicate clearly with your ex about any behavioral problems, new activities the kids are interested in, or medical issues that may have come up for your kids during the school year. This strategy helps maintain continuity with boundaries and makes it easier for the co-parent who hasn’t seen them for several months to reconnect in a meaningful way.

Maintain a Routine

Keeping the summertime goodbyes predictable for your kids helps make the transition easier and reduces their anxiety about entering a new environment. Children crave structure, even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes. Use the same date every year for your co-parent to take custody. You could also invent a special goodbye hug or take the children out for a nice dinner at their favorite restaurant. Whatever it is that works for your family, just make sure to preserve continuity. Children, especially at younger ages, are more likely to act out or become confused when they’re uncertain about their environment or what’s expected of them.

Child Custody battles can be difficult matters from both an emotional and legal standpoint. When your marriage is at an end, having the services of experienced family law attorneys on your side can help you preserve your rights and reach a settlement plan that makes sense for both sides. When your children are your most important asset, do everything in your power to protect them with skilled legal help.


is a NJ divorce attorney based out of Princeton. Perry is certified as a civil trial attorney by the Supreme Court of New Jersey and has tried and litigated substantial cases throughout New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania.


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