Summer vacations and custody: What to know

Summer vacations are a great way for parents and kids to spend some quality time together and create great memories.

However, trips with the kids can be hard to arrange when you’re sharing custody and parenting time with your ex-spouse. Here are some tips to make the process easier:

1. Get your parenting plan out and re-read it.

Never trust your memory on these kinds of things. Get your parenting plan out and see if there are any restrictions on where you can take the kids during your parenting time, especially if you plan to go out of state for a week or so. You may need to seek your co-parent’s permission for the trip.

2. Communicate your itinerary to your co-parent.

This may seem uncomfortably intrusive, but put yourself in their shoes: You might not feel very comfortable if your ex-spouse took the kids away to parts unknown, either – even if you generally trust their parenting. Transparency can create goodwill with your co-parent and minimize the potential for disputes.

3. Be ready to trade parenting time.

If your vacation plans are going to interfere with your co-parent’s time with the kids, be ready to make some concessions. That may include giving up a few days of your own parenting time later or allowing your ex to use virtual visitation while you’re on the trip. 

4. Make sure you have a letter of consent

A letter of consent, signed and notarized by the other parent, can eliminate a lot of problems when you’re traveling with your children after divorce (whether you plan to travel overseas or within this country’s borders). That can eliminate any risk that you’ll later be accused of violating your custody agreement and parental abduction.

If you need help navigating a tricky custody issue, even just temporarily, it’s usually better not to try to handle the situation on your own.

FindLaw Network