Parenting a child is a tough job already, but that job can get a lot harder to manage when you and your co-parent don’t get along. While summer vacations with the kids may have once been a source of stress relief during your marriage, going on vacation with the kids after your divorce can be a unique source of conflict with your ex-spouse.
So, how do you keep the peace and still take a vacation this summer with the kids? Here are some tips:
1. Look at your parenting plan.
First, make sure that you understand what your parenting plan allows when it comes to travel. Nothing is likely to upset your co-parent more than an out-of-state trip with the kids without their consent if the parenting plan forbids it.
2. Be courteous about the advance warning.
So, you found that your parenting plan allows you to travel out of the state for up to a week at a time for family vacations without your co-parent’s approval as long as you don’t interfere with their parenting time.
That’s fantastic – but think about how you would feel if your co-parent took off with the kids to parts unknown for even a week. Give your co-parent advance warning about the trip. You may not have to ask their permission, but politely listening to any concerns they may have about the kids’ safety, medication schedules, dietary concerns or other issues is simply fair.
3. Be generous with the contact information.
You don’t have to give your co-parent your entire itinerary, but you should give them the number and address of the hotel you’ll be using in case of an emergency.
You can also smooth a lot of ruffled feathers by offering to have the kids call your co-parent every evening before bed.
This may seem like an awful lot of trouble to go to when you have the right to do as you please with the kids during your parenting time, but your graciousness will (hopefully) be remembered when it’s your ex’s turn to travel. It’s also the best way to head off the usual summertime custody disputes and keep yourself out of court.