As the last day of school before summer break approaches, we feel a more pressing need to confirm vacation plans for the summer. For divorced parents who have agreed to establish their own vacation schedule, this can be as difficult as it is exciting. We would love to take the kids to Disney World in July, for example, but what if our ex-spouse usually takes them camping at the Grand Canyon for two weeks that month? How we do prevent overlap and therefore conflict?

Below is a list of four tips that can make summer parenting time planning go more smoothly this year?

Tip No. 1: Share your preliminary plans with your ex

One common problem when it comes to planning summer vacations is that the other parent simply has no idea what you would like to do with the kids until the last minute. As soon as you have some concrete ideas, let your former spouse know. Be prepared to be flexible: if she really has her heart set on taking the kids to see their grandparents, for example, acquiescing now could make her more willing to let you have the children for a vacation that’s especially important to you.

Tip No. 2: Encourage the children to contact the other parent during vacation

Vacations are a time when we want to have fun and be free from pressing obligations or responsibilities. However, you should not forget to have the kids check in with your ex at least once during your time with them. This allows the other parent to be reassured that the kids are having a great time and that everything is going well. It’s natural for your ex to be a little worried, especially if your children are younger. Therefore, regular check-ins will set your ex’s mind at ease.

Tip No. 3: Don’t try to compete with your ex

If your divorce was not exactly amicable, then there may be some residual bitterness that will tempt you to try to one-up your ex regarding which parent will give the children the best holiday. Resist the urge. This tactic will only create animosity between you and make the kids feel conflicted. Simply focus on making the vacation as enjoyable as possible, both for the kids and for you as a parent.

Tip No. 4: Respect the other parent’s time with the children

You had a terrific time with the kids, and now it is your ex’s turn. As much you miss them and want to check in to see how they are doing, respect the fact that this is your former spouse’s special time with them. If they check in with you voluntarily, then that’s great. If not, then wait until they return home. If an emergency arises, then you will be notified.

Summer vacations are special times for parents and children. When you plan ahead, keep the lines of communication open and focus simply on having fun, your post-divorce summers can be as special as the ones that preceded them.

Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx divorce and family law attorney. He has served many highly satisfied clients over the past 34 years as evidenced by numerous referrals. If you are considering divorce or need legal representation in family court, then contact Mr. Lutzky’s office at 718-514-6619 or visit www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com to set up a free in-person initial consultation.