Vacations are meant to be a way to relax and rid yourself of stress -- but it's difficult to do that when you're a parent who shares custody of your child with your ex-spouse. The complications that come along with taking your child on vacation (without the other parent) can make both you and your ex-spouse miserable.
Here are some tips that can help you reduce friction with your ex over vacations:
Negotiate for vacation time early
Don't wait until after your divorce to start thinking about vacation time with your child. Don't agree to "work it out" when the time comes or decide that you can "wing it." Sit down with your soon-to-be ex and come to an agreement, whenever possible, about the rules for vacations post-divorce.
Some things to negotiate include:
- The amount of notice needed before taking the child on vacation
- How out-of-state trips will be handled
- Any restrictions on vacation activities (for example, no "high-risk" activities without the other parent's consent)
- Who gets the kids during what time period in the summer or which summer holidays
Make sure the details are clearly reflected, in detail, in your child custody agreement.
Agree to contact with the other parent during your vacation
This can be a contentious issue because many people don't want to feel tied to their ex while on their vacation. However, your child's other parent will likely be more relaxed about the child's absence if you:
- Provide your ex with your contact information while you are gone (where you are staying, email, etc.)
- Allow your child to call or video chat with the other parent at night before bed
- Agree to share photos of your child from the trip
This can also keep tensions from affecting your child's enjoyment of the trip -- which is also important.
Being a parent is never easy -- and that's definitely true when you're divorced. There are, however, workable solutions.