By Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O'Cathain & O'Cathain
It’s finally spring: tulips are blooming, baseball is back, and spring break is now in the rearview mirror.
Which makes it the perfect time to talk summer ’22.
Long, lazy days of sunlight and surf, ice cream and watermelon—everyone loves summer! Memorial Day weekend is on the horizon (seriously, we’re less than two months away…), and then June, with the end end of the school year. Before you know it’ll be July 4th weekend, and we’ll be deep in the heart of suntan lotion, rose, and let’s-just-throw-something-on-the-grill and stay outside. In other words, our favorite season.
If you’re separated or divorced, what do you need to do now—while we’re still in spring, while there’s still time to do it—to get ready for summer 2022? Here are four steps to take:
- Talk to your co-parent about what the children’s summer will look like—now is the time. While it’s undoubtedly most children’s favorite season, it’s often parents’ least favorite season, because with summer comes many, many questions: are the children going to camp? (And if so, is it sleepaway or day? And for how long?) If the children are not going to camp, or they attending recreational sport or day-camp put on by the town or a local youth group? Who is the primary caregiver for the children day-to-day, when they don’t have to be at school for the morning bell? Are you (and, potentially, your current significant other) taking the children on a summer vacation somewhere? Who has custody of the children for which summer holidays? Put simply: what are we going to do all day?!
All these questions are best addressed now. Schedule a time, whether over the phone or over a cup of coffee, to sit and civilly address all these questions with your co-parent. Bring your calendar, your daybook— whatever you use to schedule your busy life. By creating space now to do it, you’ll be able to handle emergencies down the road. For instance, if a plan falls through because of work or a family emergency, you can consult your calendar and adjust, knowing you put in the time prior to be able to do so.
- Be honest with yourself and your co-parent about what you can afford. Summer fun, while awesome, adds up quickly! Vacations, souvenirs, surf lessons; trips to the beach or the boardwalk— this all costs money, to say nothing of camp costs these days. Talk with your co-parent: is there a way to make one week special? One day special? (A great summer memory could hang on that one mid-week trip to Six Flags Great Adventure. Not in the budget this year? The zoo, an ice cream parlor: anyplace you don’t normally go can go a long way in creating a great summer memory.) If you can, keep a couple bucks on you at all times— you never know when the sound of the ice cream truck may be heard in your neighborhood.
No matter the budget, look at local library programs, town events (a lot of towns have free outdoor concerts and/or movie screenings this time of year) and other free or free-ish activities to fill those long summer days.
- Get in touch with your inner child this summer. Separation or divorce takes a toll. Whether it’s running through the backyard with a water gun or making sure you get an ice cream cone as well, be sure to treat yourself with kindness this summer. Be goofy, be silly, be kid-like… it’ll connect you more with your child, and with summer.
- Get creative about creating summer memories. We talked above about spending some money to create a great summer memory. However, as most parents know, it’s not really about the money, it’s about something more precious: the time. Putting in the time to be with your child—whether by creating a summer scavenger hunt, a DIY picnic or simply setting up the sprinkler in the lawn and taking that box of ice-pops out of the freezer—is what summer is all about. And looking back on it what your child will remember is you taking the time to create a summer memory with them.
Everyone at our firm hopes you and your family have a safe and amazing summer, creating summer 2022 memories that last a lifetime!
No matter the season, divorce is hard (and, with all the extra family time, summer may be one of the hardest times). If you need help, reach out to Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O’Cathain & O’Cathain, LLC: (201) 488-1161.Originally published on April 22, 2022. Link to the original article here.