After a divorce, a trip with your children should be a happy and restful reprieve. During the divorce, you and your spouse should have created a parenting plan which outlines your plans to co-parent the kids after the divorce. Vacation time is an important component of the parenting plan.
The plan allows each of you the opportunity to discuss your thoughts or concerns about how the children vacation. Be sure to consider the following points referring to vacation when you develop your parenting plan.
One of the important factors to consider where vacations are concerned is the schedule. You both need to make several considerations, including the children's school schedules, your work schedule, the children's extra-curricular activity schedule, and the like.
You both may want to spell out your own personal preferences as to when you would like to vacation with the children. Keep in mind the preferred time could change over time, but talking about your preferences is a good way to start the conversation.
When you plan for vacation time, you both should have a second-choice option in case you both want to vacation at the same time or if a schedule conflict arises. If you have a set work schedule with no changes, you could include a set week once a year dedicated to your vacation time with your kids, allowing your spouse more flexibility.
When you develop your parenting plan, you need to set out your expectation for the major holidays. Some parents plan on set days to have the children while others rotate the holidays. Holiday scheduling is a large part of a parenting plan. You may find you do not need to communicate as much for this component of the parenting plan.
However, you will need to communicate frequently when it comes to scheduling vacation. While some divorced couples can easily discuss the plans in person or on the phone, others find the process more difficult. If your former spouse is bitter, you may be fearful of his or her actions when you take your children out of town or out of state for a vacation.
Therefore, it is always ideal to back yourself up when you intend to travel with the children. You should first either email or text your plans after you have both agreed to the vacation. This allows you to have solid proof should your former spouse want to cause trouble.
Next, send your former spouse a copy of your itinerary, including the dates you will travel and the destination. You do not have to provide minute-by-minute details, but simply the day you leave, the day you return, and possibly your flight and hotel information in case of emergencies.
This level of communication before and during your vacation will help ensure you do not have any pushback from your former spouse and it can help prevent potential legal complications in the future.
Activities on Vacation
Another topic of discussion is the activities you will do while on your vacation. Different destinations require different levels of activities, some sedentary and safe and others more adventurous. Discuss which activities you intend to do on vacation with your spouse.
While you know you will care for your children's safety, you need to make sure the other parent is fine with your plans. If you have risky activities planned, it is best to convey them with your former spouse. You would appreciate the same treatment, especially if you have concerns about the level of activity.
If you have questions about making a parenting plan or how to handle vacation plans after a divorce, please contact the Law Office of Greg Quimby, P.C.