Summer is just around the corner — and that means summer break for the kids and family vacations.
But things are radically different this year: You and your co-parent are separated or newly divorced. How do you plan a vacation when you’re sharing your parenting time?
Some tips to help make summer vacation time less stressful
The first thing you need to do is review your parenting plan to see when — exactly — you have physician custody of the kids. Unless your co-parent agrees to something else, you have to follow this plan — so make your reservations carefully.
Here are some additional suggestions:
- If your co-parent has agreed to a change in schedule to accommodate your vacation plans, get it in writing. Otherwise, it’s your word against their word — and that won’t win you any points in court if you’re accused of custodial interference.
- Give your co-parent a rough itinerary of your plans. Maybe it feels intrusive, but you would probably want to know where the kids are if the situation was reversed. A little consideration now could serve you well later.
- Make sure the kids have a phone that your co-parent can reach. You don’t want your vacation interrupted because your co-parent can’t reach the kids to check on them or connect for scheduled virtual visitations.
- Offer to trade some special time, if necessary. If you really want to take a vacation but your plans will intrude on your co-parent’s time with the kids, see if you can offer up a time trade — like agreeing to let your ex take the kids out of town on Thanksgiving this year.
Most of the time, disputes over summer vacation are easily resolved. Not all custody issues will be. When you encounter a problem that you can’t resolve through direct negotiation, consider speaking with an attorney.