Summer will soon be here. For many divorced parents, that means a return to drama and conflicts around the children, most of which can be tied back to vacation time.
Isn’t there a better way? There can be, but it takes a little advance planning.
Start with your parenting plan
The time to start planning for summer vacation is when you’re working out your parenting plan – not when summer is already upon you. If you wait until vacation time is close, emotional reactions and scheduling stress can make for ongoing hostilities that you (and your kids) probably want to avoid.
What are some possible negotiation points? Consider these:
- Should each parent get a set number of days every summer to travel with the kids? Can that be outside of the state without the other parent’s permission?
- How much notice regarding travel plans is required? Should there be a set time every year (such as the first week of April) when the co-parents sit down and try to work out the schedule so that there are no overlaps and conflicts?
- What sort of summer vacation activities are off the list (or require both parents’ permission in advance)? Are potentially dangerous activities, like rafting or hang gliding, okay for one parent to schedule without asking the other?
- How much information about one’s vacation plans with the kids has to be given to the other parent? Do they need a rough itinerary, or do they just need the contact information for the hotel where you will be staying?
If you haven’t yet made your parenting plan, thinking about these questions now – before they become a yearly issue – is wise. If you do have a parenting plan and summer vacations have become a massive source of problems with your ex, it may be time to ask for a few modifications.