It’s summertime. Time for planning and enjoying vacations with your children. If you’re a separated or divorced parent, it’s wise to head off any disputes with your co-parent before planning your vacation. That way, your children can enjoy a stress-free vacation with you this summer.
Ideally, you should have a written custody and parenting time agreement in place. These typically include terms about vacation time with the children.
Alternatively, agree upon vacation terms in writing to guide you each year. These generally include:
- The length of vacation time each year. Each parent typically takes the children for 2-weeks’ vacation each year.
- Consecutive “blocks” of time. For example, vacations should be taken minimally in one-week blocks. This tends to avoid disagreements where one parent insists on taking days here and there as “vacation time.”
- School and extracurricular activities. Specify that vacations will not interfere with school or agreed upon extracurricular activities unless agreed otherwise.
- Notice to other parent. For example, each parent will give the other at least 30 days’ notice of vacation plans before making final reservations. Each will provide location, contact telephone number and itinerary for the trip.
- Telephone contact with the children. Each parent will have reasonable telephone access with the children. By the same token, the children will call the other parent whenever they would like.
Above all, as a separated or divorced parent, strive to make decisions guided by the children’s best interests. For example:
- Foster an affectionate relationship between the children and the other parent.
- Demonstrate common courtesy and respect for each other.
- Don’t bad-mouth each other.
- Don’t allow your significant other, family members, or friends to make negative comments about the other parent.
- Respect each other’s privacy. Avoid asking the children questions about the other parent’s new life.
Picture the ideal vacation with your children and make it happen!