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How do you Handle Summer Visitation when the kids have Jobs?

amber3902's picture

I'm posting this as a biomom but I think this topic is appropriate to this section of Step Talk since I think people here would most likely encounter this kind of problem.

I'm divorced with two daughters, ages 15 and 8. According to the CO, my exhusband and I each get two weeks of vacation with our children every year.

Since both of our parents live out of state, I let my dad use my vacation time to see the girls, and my exH lets his mom use his time to spend with the girls. My girls fly out and stay with my dad for two weeks. They usually fly to see their dad's mother as well, but sometimes she comes to our town to visit.

Now, my oldest will be turning 16 in August and my SO is going to give her a car for her birthday. I'm thinking she needs to get a part time job for at least two reasons.

I think at the very least she should pay for her own gas and contribute at least something towards the cost of her car insurance. She would obviously need a part time job to pay for those things.

Also, we're also looking at college, and I'm thinking of summer jobs/internships that could help her with college applications. She wants to go into health care, so we're thinking of part time jobs or volunteering at hospitals during the summer she could put on her college applications.

Now, I have a couple of concerns. I'm concerned that if she starts working, she will not be unable to take the time off next summer in order to visit her grandparents.

Also, the school she attends gives a lot of homework. She usually has at least an hour of homework every day. I'm concerned having a part time job during the school year would affect her grades.

I want her to learn hard work and responsibility, but I don't want to take away her visitation with her dad's family, or her grades to suffer. I'm trying to think of a feasible compromise that would not affect her ability to see her dad's extended family.

The only thing I've thought of is that she could get a part job for just the summer, and visit her grandparents during spring break or Christmas. But I would hate not spending Christmas with my girls.

Or should she just not get a job? The idea of her not having to pay at least something for her car rubs me the wrong way. I would rather she not even get the car if she is unable to at least pay for her own gas.

Any ideas? The folks on here usually think of things that don't even occur to me.

Calypso1977's picture

i think part of getting a job is teaching a child that it means sometimes having to sacrifice fun time.

i would say if she gets a job, no visits to the grandparents. have the grandparents (who i assume might be retired?) come to you.

amber3902's picture

That's a good idea, but wouldn't work in this situation. My dad still works so he would not be able to take two weeks time off to visit.

My exH's mom doesn't work, but she doesn't drive and is entirely dependent on her adult children. One of her sons lives with her and pays all the bills for her. She does travel down here sometimes, when one her kids take her, so I suppose I could offer that alternative to her.

My girls have visited my dad during spring break before, so I thought of offering that to my dad, and asking that my exH's mom travel down here to visit with the girls instead of them coming to her.

There's also the tricky thing of the CO. Technically, my exH is allowed those two weeks with the girls to do with as he wishes. I don't know if he would take me back to court for this, if I said the only way his mom could see the girls was if she came down here. I'd prefer to keep this as amicable as possible.

amber3902's picture

All good points, I just don't know how much headache exH's mother will give him, and indirectly me.

I didn't get along with exH's mom when we were married, so this could be viewed as me trying to get another dig at her.

Almost every year there's some drama surrounding summer visitation with my exH's mother. Despite my explanations, exH's family doesn't seem to comprehend that this is actually exH's time and not his mother's, but that's what his family thinks this time is.

I'm just trying to avoid some of the drama that I know will happen if I try to limit or eliminate what she views as her "time" with the girls next year.

hereiam's picture

Why would she not be able to take time off from a part time job next summer to see the grandparents? Maybe not the whole two weeks with each, but she could ask for a week off here and a week off there.

If the part time job interferes with her grades, then she cuts down her hours and if that doesn't work, gives her notice and concentrates on school only.

amber3902's picture

I didn't think your average part time job would allow someone to take off for two weeks. But I could be wrong, it's been a long time since I've worked at Hardee's. Smile

The CO does says two consecutive weeks, but I suppose I could try and get exH to agree to one week instead of two. There's spring break, and sometimes school is closed for the entire week of Thanksgiving, so maybe I could offer that time instead of two weeks in the summer.

alieigh21's picture

You might be surprised by what they are willing to do. The types of places that hire teens usually have dozens of employees that split shifts and high turn over. From my experience, most managers are willing to work with kids for things like vacations and family obligations given enough notice. Why would you really care what your ex mil thinks? Like someone else said, this is the beginning of her moving into a more adult role. Once they start to drive they handle their own schedule. Leave it up to her to work out the details and any modifications.

amber3902's picture

It's good to know jobs would work with my D15.

I'm not really concerned about what my exMIL thinks, I just know with our history, the possibility is there that she will view this as me trying to keep the girls from her, or some such nonsense. Think crazy, illogical BM, that's my exMIL.

amber3902's picture

Yes, I am concerned ex will not support D15 getting a job, if it means visitation time with his mother is affected.

I doubt I'd get him to pick up any slack, however. I can barely get him to pay CS as it is, forget about asking him to pay any extras.

Hopefully his mom doesn't raise too much of a stink about this, summer visitation has had drama almost every year.

Drac0's picture

Based on the experiences of my neighbor and a friend of mine (both their kids are 18+), the CO as written is no longer strictly enforced by the parents and the onus is put on the child/young adult to coordinate who they will see and for how long.

Calypso1977's picture

i say then have a discussion with your ex-husband and the kids who want to work.
could be these kids dont even want to spend time with their grandparents, or at least that much. 4 weeks with grandparents over the summer is about 1/3 of their summer!

ive dealt with seasonal hires and ive dealt with retail hires. in both cases, a week for a family trip is reasonable in the summer time, but there is no way id hire a kid who asks for 2, 3 or 4 weeks off.

another thing that happens is that they will hire the kid, but give them minimal hours and give more hours to the kids who want to work full time all summer.

Orange County Ca's picture

Millions of children, even some in the United States grow up without anyone giving them a car. (Gasp). I know its hard to conceive for some people but its true.

No car no need for part time job, concentrate on school and grandparents will understand their visits have to be worked around their educational requirements.

amber3902's picture

Trust me, Orange County, I have reservations about her being gifted a car. I don't want her getting spoiled.

I figure making her pay for gas and insurance is a way to mitigate the possibility of her being spoiled.

And if she is disrespectful, rude or otherwise acts up I will be taking away the keys to the car.

kathc's picture

Yes, a part time job is a good idea.

She's a kid, she's not going to get a job running a corporation ffs. They will let her take a couple weeks off from flipping burgers or selling movie tickets to go visit her grandparents.

amber3902's picture

I'll have to see how she feels about all this, but I'm pretty sure she wants to visit her grandparents. Both my dad and my exMIL try to have activities for the kids to do while they're visiting.

My dad takes them places, the zoo, museums, baseball games. This past visit he took them to Lego Land.

My exH's mother lives in New York and her son (their uncle) takes them to all the tourist places, Bronx zoo, times square, etc.

I'm pretty sure they enjoy the visits and look forward to them. But that will have to be balanced with the need for PT job/volunteering opportunities.

AllySkoo's picture

When my SD's got jobs as teens, they pretty much just went under the assumption that they would work. What I mean is, they would go to the job from our house (or DH would take them) or they would stay at their mother's and go to work as usual from there. Honestly, it was never even a question that the job took precedence over visitation. Maybe we're just weird though... Lol

It sounds like you haven't talked to their dad about this yet. If things are amicable, maybe pose it to him as a question. "I would like Oldest Daughter to get a part time job, both to learn some responsibility and to help with her college applications. However, given that she usually visits your mom for 2 weeks in the summer, I can see that would be a problem. What are your thoughts on this? Would you be totally against her getting a job? Can you think of any way we can work this out?"

The other thing that occurs to me is that you don't have to send both girls together on their vacations, if ex-H agrees. You can still send your youngest for her regularly scheduled vacation and maybe do a shorter one (like a week) for the older one if she can get the time off work. Or send the younger one in summer and the older one on a school vacation week, something like that.

SMto2's picture

My SS18 has been a lifeguard for a couple summers. His employer had no problem giving him time off to take many trips with his friends and BM (though he never had time for a vacation with us, which is another issue.) I would think many employers would be flexible with young kids' work schedule, particularly if this is mentioned up front. This also reminds me that BM was tickled pink when SS18 started working, since one summer he worked about 40 hours a week, so she did not have to give him ANY spending money and truly had our full whopping CS check all to herself to spend as she wished. Thanks for the reminder of why I'm glad BM is no longer spending on our dime and is off our payroll forever!