Georgia law presumes that a shared custody schedule is in the best interest of the child, but sometimes following a shared custody schedule during the school year is impractical. Perhaps one parent lives closer to the child’s school, making sharing custody inconvenient and stressful for the child.
In these cases, one parent usually has primary custody during the school year, with the other parent having partial custody on weekends or holidays.
Prepare for shared custody in the summer
The summertime is a different story. With school out, many courts order that parents switch to a shared custody schedule in the summer. Although it is only for a few months, it can still be difficult to adjust, for both the parents and child.
Shared summer custody schedules are typically done on a week-on/week-off basis. The parent with primary custody during the school year can find it hard to go a full week without seeing their child and the child may feel insecure without their primary caregiver around.
More time can be built in for parents to speak with the child on their “off” weeks. Daily phone or video calls can help.
Vacations and holidays
Since most families take vacations in the summer, another common feature of a summer custody schedule is each parent receiving one longer bulk of time, such as two weeks, for a vacation with the child. The child should continue to maintain daily contact with the other parent during this time.
Summer contains three major holidays: Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. These holidays are usually split evenly, with one parent getting Memorial Day and the other getting Labor Day and alternating every other year.
Remember that custody should be fair to both parents
This can be hard if, for example, your family tradition is a Memorial Day barbecue. Every other year your child cannot be there for it. This is a hard reality of sharing custody, but it is important to remember that your child should have equal time with each parent.
Every case is different, and you and your co-parent can agree on whatever summer custody schedule works best for you. Depending on your relationship with your co-parent, you may need legal help to negotiate a schedule and make it enforceable.