Summer vacations present some logistical challenges for divorced parents. You and your former spouse can fall into a routine during the school year. If you are someone who has to go back and look at your divorce agreement every year before the summer begins, you aren’t alone. Though you may have additional time with your child during the summer months, there are some key details you may need to verify to ensure you are following the agreement.
When & How To Communicate
Imagine you are someone who sees their child every other weekend during the school year, but you receive two additional weeks during the summer. What does your agreement say about those two weeks? Many people must tell the custodial parent when they intend to use that time. This is mutually beneficial for both parents. It ensures that you get the extra time with your child, and the custodial parent can begin planning how they will spend those weeks.
It is important to note when those dates must be submitted (which can likely be done through an email to your former spouse). Secondly, do you receive those weeks in addition to your regular weekends, or do they replace them? These are the details that can derail your plan. If you book a vacation after incorrectly assuming that your standard weekend visitation can be added to your week in the summer, the custodial parent may not agree to it.
This is a perfect moment to mention how vital a healthy co-parenting relationship is. If you accidentally scheduled a trip using two extra days (like the example above), you and your spouse may have the ability to talk it through and compromise. Otherwise, the custodial parent can deny it because it wasn’t included in your signed agreement. Great co-parents know when the appropriate time to be flexible is. Focusing on your child’s well-being rather than fighting with the other generates the best scenario for everyone involved.
Tips That Come From Experience
When it comes to divorce and co-parenting, many things can go wrong when two people don’t communicate and plan appropriately. There have been scenarios when people have told their former spouse when they intend to use their additional summer visitation—only to realize later that they already had something booked for that time.
When that happens, you have to hope your former spouse is willing to accommodate your request to modify your plans. From personal experience, planning out a summer vacation schedule does not have to be complicated. If you and your spouse print out a calendar (or have it on your phones), bring it with you when you drop off or pick up the children. We take blue and pink highlighters to color-code who has the children which weeks in the summer. It can be that easy. But it takes work and commitment from both parents for this work.
Easterling Law, PLLC
Many of the details we have discussed will be included in your separation agreement. The attorneys at Easterling Law, PLLC, create this through negotiations and discussions with your spouse’s attorney. Let’s connect so we learn how we can assist you during your divorce.