By: Shari Lee Genser, Esq.
When co-parenting from separate households, parents must divide the time physically spent with their children. Under the best of circumstances, this division of parenting time presents opportunities for cooperative co-parenting, but in some instances, the division of parenting time becomes a major source of conflict. One area that parents are sometimes unable to agree upon is the division of vacation parenting time.
With back-to-school in full swing, it’s time to take a look ahead at extended school breaks, when most parents desire to take their children on a special vacation or special day trips to celebrate the children’s time off from school and build lasting memories. Unfortunately, as children have a limited number of school breaks each year, parents who share regular parenting time between separate households are similarly forced to share this vacation parenting time as well. When both parents seek to exercise vacation parenting time during the same time periods, conflicts can arise. Consider the following tips to facilitate your vacation parenting time plans and avoid the added stress of an unnecessary co-parenting conflict.
TIP # 1: Be reasonable in considering your co-parent’s requests for vacation parenting time. Remember that your children will benefit from the opportunity to build lasting memories with both parents, and that your cooperation in facilitating a special vacation or special day trip for your child with your co-parent will go a long way in their future consideration of your requests for similar accommodations to facilitate a special vacation or special day trip for your child to enjoy with you.
TIP # 2: Similarly, be reasonable in your own requests for vacation parenting time. Remember that if you make vacation parenting time plans which are not appropriate for the age or maturity level of your children, your co-parent may voice a reasonable objection to your proposed plans.
TIP # 3: To facilitate cooperation, it is highly recommended to co-parents that they communicate well in advance as to proposed vacation parenting time plans. For example, if you wish to take the children out of town for a special vacation, it is advisable to discuss your proposed plans with your co-parent before booking any travel or accommodations. This will prevent you and your co-parent from booking simultaneous vacations and the resulting need for one of you to change your plans. In addition, if your co-parent is unreasonably refusing your request for vacation parenting time, advanced communication of your proposed vacation plans will give you adequate time to seek the assistance of counsel, or the Court’s intervention, as needed.
Vacations are wonderful bonding experiences for families and offer chances to make memories that last forever. Follow these tips to ensure planning your vacation goes as smoothly as possible and your trip is one that you and your children will always treasure.