Sharing custody isn’t just about splitting the drudgery of getting the kids to school every morning. It is also about maintaining a strong bond with your children and creating new memories with your family in its post-divorce form.
Summer vacation from school presents the perfect opportunity for parents to bond with their children again and make new memories. You have probably already agreed to a specific split of the summer that allows you both to continue working full-time while also seeing your children frequently. Especially if you have a week or more of continual parenting time, you may want to plan a major trip with the kids.
However, sharing custody with your ex can complicate vacation plans. Will your ex need to approve your travel arrangements if you already have a parenting plan in Washington?
Your custody order may discuss travel or schedule changes
You can do whatever you want during your parenting time, so long as it complies with both the law and your custody order. It is common for parents to include rules about travel or changes to the standard schedule in their parenting plans.
Before you make assumptions about how to plan your vacation, a review of your custody order can certainly help. You may discover that the only limitation on travel is when you leave the country or the state. If you intend to travel farther than that, you may need to talk to your ex.
You will likely need to discuss the vacation with them anyway, especially if you have to change your parenting schedule a bit to accommodate your travel plans. What if they refuse to work with you and try to prevent your trip?
You can ask for a custody modification
In a contentious shared custody situation where one parent adamantly refuses to let the other travel with the children, the Washington family courts can potentially help. They can hear the details of the situation and potentially approve a custody modification allowing for this trip and maybe even other future vacations.
You can help your case by focusing on why the travel will be good for the children, as the judge should always keep your kids’ welfare centermost when they make decisions about parental rights. Knowing your travel options as a parent who shares custody can help you make those meaningful new memories with your children.