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Summer brings custody and visitation woes

In many Florida families who have gone through divorce, the summer months can pose a particular challenge. Often, the agreed-upon custody and visitation schedule allows the parent who has less time during the school year to have the bulk of summer visitation. This can be hard on both the parents and the child, and special care must be taken to ensure that kids have a positive experience.

Some children are very aware of tactile input and will become physically aggressive when faced with a challenge. They may lash out at parents, siblings or friends when faced with a long visit with the non-custodial parent. The best way to address this issue is to provide plenty of physical stimulation, whether in the form of long bike rides or plenty of cuddle time on the couch.

Kids who are oriented to auditory stimulation may withdraw in times of stress and become very quiet. Parents who notice this should take steps to engage their child in conversation and be responsive to what is said. Auditory children often feel comforted by having a written schedule that they can refer to when wondering about the timeframe of a long summer visit.

For kids who are visually oriented, distress can arise based on the differences between the homes of either parent. These kids may find comfort in having some elements of their personal space the same within both homes. Having their favorite bedding, toys and other items in place at both homes can give them a sense of security.

Just as no two Florida divorce cases are ever alike, there are no two post-divorce families that will share the same adjustment struggles. The best way to handle custody and visitation stress is to be on guard for changes in a child's behavior and poised to take corrective action if the need should arise. In many cases, summer vacation will become easier as the years pass, and everyone will adjust to the new custody schedule.

Source: thenewstribune.com, "Child Sense: Divorce and the summer holidays", Priscilla Dunstan, June 15, 2015

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Stephen T. Holman, P.A.
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