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Divorced parents advised to plan for summer

Florida parents who share custody may want to finalize their plans for the summer months in spring or earlier. Experts say the preponderance of activities, social gatherings and other events that take place when school is out can make it harder for parents to schedule. Some observers even recommend that parents make use of tools like cellphone apps to track critical parenting plan details, such as visitation.

Parents also need to communicate openly with each other about events like vacations and trips. Misunderstandings about who gets custody at what time can lead to serious disputes. If they're not taken care of early on, such disagreements may result in one or the other parent going to court to enforce what they believe is their rightful parenting time. In the most extreme situations, parents may even seek assistance from law enforcement officials to resolve ongoing disagreements.

Experts advise that parents avoid negative outcomes by including specific terms and considerations in their parenting plans. For instance, parents should be bound to notify the other each other about summer vacations ahead of time so that everyone can plan appropriately. It's also important to bear in mind that summer parenting time can impact court orders on a case-by-case basis but that disputes typically don't negate the need to pay child support.

When parents split, their child custody agreements aren't usually binding until the court approves them. After this formalization takes place, however, parents who fail to adhere to their terms may be penalized if they lack valid reasons for their noncompliance. Most courts are willing to consider the individual circumstances in each case, but it may be advisable for parents to have the assistance of counsel when petitioning for a modification.

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