Vacation Tips for Divorced Parents

Carlsbad, CA – When parents divorce, the most difficult task is often figuring out the custody arrangement. Divorce attorneys, mediators and other professionals may help in the planning and arranging of the agreements, but one area that can sometimes fall through the cracks is vacation planning. How do vacations work once a divorce is finalized?

Mom with her two children watching the see while summer sets

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Griffith, Young & Lass offers these tips to help divorced parents navigate vacationing after a divorce or separation.

  1. Plan ahead.

Create a vacation schedule, taking into account school breaks and summer vacation. Your court order will lay out specifics for how much time each parent has with the children, but they will also often lay out how far in advance one parent needs to notify the other of vacation plans. Failing to meet the deadlines may prevent you from taking that vacation. Plan your vacation and provide notice well in advance to ensure your vacation doesn’t get sidelined.

  1. Communicate.

Be sure you share the details of your vacation plans with your ex-spouse. Notify the other parent if you plan to leave the state or the country with your child, and get written permission from the other parent. Failing to communicate vacation plans can result in legal action. It may be beneficial to communicate everything in writing – texts will suffice. Should your ex-spouse change his or her mind at the last minute, you will have written confirmation that all details were properly shared and communicated well in advance. Provide the other parent with a travel itinerary, including flight information, hotel information, and contact information. Be sure you allow time for the children to speak with the other parent while on vacation – both parties will be more comfortable this way.

  1. Pack wisely.

Be sure to pack copies of your children’s health insurance information, passports if leaving the country, immunization records, medications, and even a copy of the custody agreement. If you have written permission from your ex-spouse for the trip, pack that, too, just in case any questions should arise while traveling.

  1. Be respectful.

It can be hard for the primary custodial parent to send their children off for an extended period of time. However, it is important for the children to be allowed to continue to build and nurture relationships with both parents, and vacationing with a non-custodial parent is a wonderful way to do this. Make sure you have contact information, but be respectful of the other parent’s time with the children.

  1. Be flexible.

Sometimes, schedules change or situations arise that might require one parent to ask for a change in the original vacation plan. It’s important to keep the best interest of the children at heart, and for the parents to work together cooperatively to ensure adequate time with each parent is available. Don’t subject your children to the tensions that can accompany a divorce.

Likewise, however, parents should not assume changes in the previously agreed upon schedule will be accommodated, until they have gotten permission from the other parent. Parents should work together to find a mutually agreeable solution, without negatively impacting the children.

Having specific and detailed parenting arrangements that take into account vacation times is beneficial to all involved. While a divorce may start out as amicable, as time goes on, and spouses remarry and situations change, animosity can set in. Creating and adhering to agreements early on can hopefully eliminate the need for additional litigation and court disputes in the future.

“Figuring out parenting schedules and custody arrangements is grueling and emotional,” says John Griffith. “Regardless of your relationship with your ex, the court will encourage you to have a specific parenting schedule so you can plan vacations, holidays and the like years in advance. Our attorneys have years of experience helping spouses create agreements that ensure the best interest of the children, and all concerns of the parents, are met. ”

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