This is the time of the year that therapists encourage their clients to begin talking about visitations, extracurricular activities, summer plans, and what is going to transpire during the next months. If the divorce working relationship is good, then negotiating where the child will be in the summer will be easy. Likewise, deciding what the extracurricular activities will be– baseball, indoor soccer, etc.– will also be simple. If it is not, on the other hand, we encourage the custodial parent, or at least one of the parents to send an email to the other and say, “This is what I would like to do, these will be the visitations, these will be the extracurricular activities. Please let me know by (date).” If they respond, let the “divorce game” begin – start negotiating. By the way, these are the general principals with divorce: a) don’t talk about what happens at each other’s home unless it is dangerous, b) no bad mouthing, c) “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”. If the other parent does not respond; you move ahead. If the other person claims they were not involved, at least you have a paper trail of what you attempted to do. If the other parent attempts to take you back to court, at least you have proof that you tried to negotiate your child’s visitations, extracurricular activities, and summer involvement. Judges typically “side” with the cooperative, kind participants even if the other parent is not.
During the summer I encourage Dads to get at least a month, unless there is a dangerous situation. In this way the child can spend more time with their father so they can have an opportunity to get to know him on a more “real” basis as opposed to every other weekend. Dads: a) stop giving excuses and b) don’t let your new partner be in charge. It’s time for Dads to step up to the plate!!