Planning a summer vacation after a divorce can either be a joyous, fun time in your life or it can be a hard-fought, stressful battle with your ex-spouse if children are in the mix. Whatever your personal situation, experienced divorce lawyers generally advise to plan ahead for any summer vacations after a divorce, as it makes the process easier on yourself, your ex-spouse, and your children.
Summer Vacations Without Children
If you do not have any children, planning for a post-divorce summer getaway may be a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Following your divorce, you should take a significant period of time thinking about yourself and caring for your well-being. While this may seem a bit selfish, you deserve it, as divorces are not an easy process and your self-care should now be your number-one priority. Getting away from your daily routine for a day, weekend, or week can help you to regain perspective on your life and rediscover the joys of once again being single.
However, if children are involved, getting away for an even just a day may be difficult and extensive planning may be required. If you are scheduled to have your kids during a time when you want to get away, arranging different pickup times and schedules may be difficult, especially if you and your ex-spouse are not on the best terms. Divorce lawyers commonly see problems arise where one parent needs to get away for a weekend and relies on the other parent to take the children, without even asking or discussing their plans with them. Therefore, if you are looking to get away for a quick vacation and want to leave your children with your ex-spouse, parents, or family members, it is important to discuss these plans with everyone involved and not just assume everyone is on board.
What about vacations with the children?
Planning on taking a vacation without your children is one story, but planning a summer trip with your children is different, especially if it is for an extended period of time which overlaps the time they are scheduled to be with the other parent. Parents tend to be very protective of this special and limited time they have with their children and may not want to allow you to have more time than they do or take away from this special time.
A key to avoiding any issues, again, is planning and open communication. While child visitation and custody schedules typically vary during the summer to accommodate a child’s summer break from school, here are a few tips from divorce lawyers to keep in mind to avoid vacation drama with your ex-spouse:
- Review your custody agreement or Court Order related to custody so that you understand your rights. Vacation time with the children is often spelled out in an agreement and you want to comply with all of the provisions related to vacations including providing notice to your ex-spouse and receiving their consent, if their consent is necessary.
- Take time and calmly explain to your ex-spouse your plans with the children: dates, times, locations, and contact information. Be sure to ask your ex-spouse if they have any objections and really take the time to flesh out any potential issues such as concerns the ex-spouse may have with a particular destination or the vacation interfering with the child’s schooling or extracurricular activities.
- If your ex-spouse has no objections, be sure to reciprocate; perhaps offer to have the kids do something special with them. An ex-spouse is less likely to cause drama in these situations if he or she realizes that you will return the favor later.
- Consider vacation plans with extended family. Your parents may want to spend more time with their grandchildren.