best divorce attorney orlandoAh, summer! It’s the season of sunshine, no school, the unmistakable scent of sunscreen, and, for Floridians, heat and humidity. According to the American Camp Association, more than 26 million kids will attend approximately 15,000 days of sleep-away camps—days filled with playing with friends, outdoor games, and maybe telling ghost stories around a campfire. But for co-parents, summer camps may prompt conversations about coordination and logistics. 

This post will:

  • Provide practical advice and potential solutions for parents facing these challenges, 
  • Guide parents on creating a smooth transition for children between camp and custodial arrangements
  • Offer clarity and insight into making fair decisions for financing summer camps within a co-parenting framework

Be proactive about your availability 

As with all scheduling, open and honest communication with your co-parent is not just important; it’s crucial. Whether it’s a sit-down, phone call, or video chat, find a method that works best for both of you well ahead of summer. Discuss your child’s interests and your summer work schedule, camp schedule, and custody agreement. The aim is to take a transparent approach to the situation and work as a team, putting your child’s experience and enjoyment first. This is an opportunity to highlight your flexibility and cooperation, showing your child that even though you are not together, you will always come together to work on what is in their best interests. 

Be agile 

If camp falls during your co-parent’s time, suggest swapping weeks during the fall or upcoming holiday break to balance things. Remember, the goal is to ensure your child has the best summer experience without feeling caught in the middle of parental issues. Though you will miss your child, both parents can take advantage of this time to travel, see friends, or just relax to know their child is safe and well cared for. 

Be fair 

Now, let’s address the question that often feels like a tiger waiting to attack: Who should pay for summer camp? Divorce settlements might not have a “summer camp” clause, leaving many parents in a stand-off because of the financial agreement decided by the court. The golden rule here is fairness. Sit down with your ex and openly discuss each other’s financial situations and obligations. Consider splitting the costs in a way that reflects your respective incomes. If one parent is in a better financial position, they might cover a more significant portion of the fee, or you could agree on a 50/50 split if that’s feasible for both parties. If you have sole custody or neither parent has the current financial flexibility for the additional cost of camp, you could explore camp scholarships or financial aid options. Organizations like Rise FirstKids Spark Education, and  Florida 4-H help families send their kids to summer camps at no cost or with financial support. 

Be consistent

The transportation between camp and home can be like ships passing in the sea—smooth sailing if done right, but potentially chaotic if mishandled. Planning the pick-up and drop-off duties ahead of time is a good idea. If it is a day camp, decide if you will handle the whole day’s transportation or if you have morning or afternoon duties. If your child’s camp is some distance away, consider splitting the travel: One parent can drop the child off at camp while the other handles pick-up. You could also meet halfway to switch custody. If your relationship is where you can be close to your ex, you can always consider going together or with a third-person buffer. Make these plans well in advance and share them with your child so they know what to expect. Make sure to stick to the agreed schedule to avoid confusion and to manage your child’s expectations. Going away to camp may be stressful for them, but knowing who will drop off and pick up can lend a sense of security.

Be curious 

Summer camps are a fantastic place to create lasting memories regardless of the parenting arrangement for the child. It’s important to stay engaged with your child’s camp experience by communicating regularly and asking about their adventures. Share photos and stories with your co-parent, to create continuity and promote a shared experience for your child. If you have a good relationship with your co-parent, you could consider organizing a special activity with your child after camp ends, like a movie night, BBQ, or dinner at their favorite place where they can share their favorite memories and stories with both of you are reinforcing your partnership in supporting their happiness no matter what the new family dynamic looks like. 

Summer camp is an excellent opportunity for your child to try new things, make new friends, and experience independence in a safe, supportive environment.  By working with your co-parent, communicating openly, and approaching each decision fairly and flexibly, co-parents can support a wonderful experience for their children. Keep a positive and flexible attitude when dealing with your ex about sending your child to summer camp; that way, your shoulders are the only thing that will potentially get burned. 

Rebecca L. Palmer, Esq. is a Family & Marital Law attorney practicing in Orlando, FL. She may be reached at