The time has come. You're about to embark on your first summer vacation with your children since you and your former spouse decided to call it quits. You're a little nervous, but determined to enjoy your time away with your kids, creating fresh memories in your new lifestyle that you'll cherish forever. If you're facing a few problems where your child custody arrangement is concerned, you're definitely not alone. Many other Pennsylvania parents have overcome substantial challenges when former spouses tried to create obstacles to their vacation plans.
Clear communication is often a key to success in such situations. However, seeing as many marriages decline in the first place due to serious breakdowns in this area, it's not always possible to amicably discuss such matters without eruptions of anger or disagreement occurring. Staying one step ahead often amounts to knowing exactly what your rights as a parent are, and where to turn for help when troubling issues arise. These two factors may prevent post-divorce summer break problems.
Things to remember when planning summer vacation
Divorce obviously prompts changes in the way you parent. Gone are the days when you can live completely off-the-cuff, as you must always make sure you adhere to your existing court decree, which often involves informing the other parent of travel plans. The following tips are handy reminders for smooth sailing on vacation:
- Most parents agree that vacation plans should take precedence over visitation schedules. However, the court may require you to provide substitute visiting time to the other parent upon your return home to make up for any time lost while you and your children were on vacation.
- It's often possible to place vacation rules in writing as part of a child custody agreement. This helps alleviate confusion and prevent negative surprises. Everyone knows from the start who will vacation with the children, and when.
- Some people create physical calendars after listing all holidays and proposed vacation days, then dividing them between both parents. This helps children know what to expect and helps parents avoid disputes.
Although you are no longer married, you will always be connected to your former spouse in a co-parenting situation. Willingness on both sides to compromise and cooperate where necessary increases the chances, not only for enjoyable summer vacations, but successful happy post-divorce futures as well. No situation is perfect, however, and there's no shame in seeking outside support when problems arise.
An experienced Pennsylvania family law attorney is used to handling summer vacation issues for divorced parents. An attorney can advocate on your behalf to protect your parental rights and keep the best interests of your children at heart during court proceedings. By acting alongside experienced guidance, you may be able to successfully resolve your problem long before you and your kids check into your hotel and hit the surf.