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Preventing or Mitigating Summer Custody Disputes

Traditionally, school break periods tend to inspire tension between co-parents. Sometimes this tension arises due to unexpected events, sometimes due to unintended thoughtlessness and sometimes due to intentional thoughtlessness. Growing frustration between co-parents during major school break periods is understandable but rarely welcome.

Thankfully, there are ways to prevent such periods of tension and there are ways to mitigate the severity and stress of a custody dispute once co-parents have begun to disagree on something related to the child's best interests. The key to either preventing or diffusing co-parental tension usually rests in both preparation and keeping one's child in mind when responding to any potentially-troublesome situations.


As summer break approaches, consider putting any instructions, questions, concerns, etc. that you have about that time period down in writing and sending that document to your co-parent. When composing, please keep your child's best interests in mind so that you reduce any temptation you may have to be snarky within your document. It can help to have a picture of your child next to you as you write. After all, your co-parent may be far from perfect, but tension between you is not healthy for your child.

Diffusing Existing Tension

If tension already arose because of other events, such as your child's spring break, there are ways to help cool off the inflamed situation. First, consider exactly what it was that sparked the tension and why it was not immediately diffused. Had either you or your co-parent failed to communicate about an important detail in advance? Was your child missing a beloved possession? Did your co-parent's spouse upset your child about something?

By pinpointing exactly what sparked the issue, you can both seek immediate solutions and plan for the future. For example, if your parenting agreement is in need of modification, seek out your attorney's guidance. If you are having communication issues, consider seeking out a therapist to help you communicate about future plans, their child's needs and school events. The more proactive you are and the calmer you are while seeking solutions, the easier it will be to mitigate existing tension and prevent future co-parenting challenges.

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Bebout, Potere, Cox & Bennion, P.C.
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Rochester, MI 48307

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