Adjusting parenting time when school starts

As the summer days wind down, many families in New Jersey prepare for change. People with children at home must turn their attention away from vacations and relaxation back to the more structured routines of the school year. Depending upon the number and ages of children, this can vary greatly. Another factor that can impact a back-to-school change is child custody arrangements for divorced parents.

During a divorce, child custody is determined based upon the best interests of the child. This includes the identification of whether parents will have joint custody or one person will have sole custody. Accompanying this decision is a plan that outlines parenting time for both parents. This outlines when children will spend time with which parent. It is common for these agreements to allow for a change in parenting time during breaks from school, including summer vacation.

Some parents are able to enjoy more time with their children during the summer but then must transition to less time together once school starts. In other cases, the amount of time children spend with each parent remains relatively similar in summer and during the school year but the routines still change. Navigating these changes should be done carefully to balance the needs and emotions of the kids. Helping parents maintain a relationship with children should be a key priority when working through these transitions.

Child custody can be a complex topic. As children grow and have different activities and needs, adjustments may be necessary. Working with an attorney can be helpful to navigate these changes.

Source:, “How to address back-to-school concerns for divorced parents | Your legal corner,” Aug. 22, 2015