The divorce is finally finished, and your children are beginning to settle into their new lives. It might be a good time for a vacation get-away. The challenge is how to make it happen in such a way that serves its purpose, instead of serving as a stark reminder that vacations will never be with both mom and dad again. In addition, there are certain legalities surrounding a vacation with the kids, especially if it’s out of state or out of the country.
If you’re wondering what the one thing you can do to mend a broken co-parenting plan, it should be to respect the other parent’s concerns about a vacation. The reality is a divorce can still bring out some jealousy, feelings of being left out and concerns about whether Dad is watching the kids in the pool or whether Mom is ensuring the seat belts are properly in place. Those are common parenting issues whether a divorce is involved, or if the family is still in-tact.
As family law attorneys in Rochester, New York, we have heard the terror in a father’s voice when he calls to tell us his former wife just left the country with their children for a vacation in the Caribbean. We know the fears of a mother who won’t rest easy again until she can at least speak to her children after they were taken out of state for the weekend. The worse the divorce, the more fearful the parent is that they might not see their children again for a very long time. It stands to reason that a courtesy phone call would ease a lot of fears, but that does not always happen.
Aside from that, there may be legal issues at play.
Are there custody considerations that require you to notify the other parent if you take the children out of state or out of the country? If so, you are bound to honor that aspect of the agreement. If there are no stipulations, it’s still a good idea to let the other parent know, especially if your child takes medication or has other special needs. If there’s no such agreement, perhaps there should be. Your family lawyer can help you with that legal detail.
If there are notes in the custody agreement, do you understand your obligations? Are you aware of any specifics, such as advanced notice? Maybe there are limitations on how long one parent can keep the children away, even on vacation.
Also, by not discussing your plans with your former spouse, you may not know the other plans your children have and how your vacation overlaps with those plans. While that may seem petty, consider the mother who took her two sons, both in high school, away on spring break only to learn that one of her sons needed to play at the first ball game of the season because of the college scouts who were traveling to the school to see him play. In this instance, the parents could not agree on anything and could no longer even hold a conversation without it becoming a verbal free-for-all. As a result, their son might have missed out on a great opportunity.
A bit of respect and common courtesy can go a long way and remember, it’s for the benefit of your children. If you need legal guidance on custody issues, child support laws or divorce laws in New York, contact a child custody attorney in our offices today.