Summer Camp Causes Custody Woes

Most school years are coming to an end, and the perennial debate about summer child custody arrangements may just be heating up in some households. Making summer plans for your children is difficult enough when you are married, but it can become downright harrowing when you are divorced. This is especially true when trying to decide upon summer camp options.

Your custody agreement may mandate a specific percentage of payment for summer camps and other activities. Many agreements require both parents to agree on a camp, but also to prevent one person from insisting upon the most expensive option. Some couples find it difficult to decide whether to send their children to overnight camps or day camps. This can end in a stalemate with the child ultimately suffering. When you get stuck on a summer camp debate, experts say you should consider using your mediation techniques to make the decision.

First, identify the reasons you want your child to attend a certain camp. Ask your spouse to do the same. These reasons may sound silly – you might admit you would miss your child too much if he left for a month – but your concerns are valid. You should schedule a meeting with your spouse to review your opinions about camp. During that meeting, come up with three alternatives that could meet the majority of both parents’ requests.

For example, if you are afraid of sending your child away for the entire summer, consider choosing an overnight camp that is closer to both parents’ homes. You could also agree to switch child caring or custody schedules to support different types of camps. Negotiate for your child’s best interests.

If you are experiencing difficulty with a summertime child custody agreement, consult a qualified family law attorney. This professional can help you learn more about your rights and responsibilities in the courtroom, leading you to an agreement that can be amenable to both parents.

Source:, “Mediating your summer camp squabbles” Diane L. Danois, May. 13, 2013