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Planning a Summer Trip with Your Kids as a Divorced Parent

Summer vacation is the perfect time to plan a getaway with your children and may be even more important now, particularly if you have shared custody with your ex. Maybe you promised a week long camping excursion or a memorable road trip cross country to view all the “must see” national landmarks. While planning a vacation with your children is the perfect way to have a bonding adventure, be careful what you promise until you have discussed your vacation plans with your ex.

A weekend or even a week away, especially during the summer time, may seem easy to do, but you need to make sure that you’re not violating your custody agreement or interfering with your ex spouse’s schedule with your kids. Here are a few tips to plan the perfect summer getaway with your kids, without infringing on arrangements made during your divorce:

Communicate

If you and your ex spouse do not communicate well, it’s time to start mastering the art of keeping in touch, for the sake of your children. You and your ex may not be effective communicators when face to face, but you can e-mail, text, share online calendars, or talk on the telephone. As soon as you start thinking about summer plans, begin the conversation with your ex. The summer fills up fast with extra curricular activities and various family and friend gatherings. Don’t miss your chance to plan a vacation.

Be Respectful of Schedules

You may have a family reunion or wedding to attend on a weekend that your ex is scheduled to have your children, but don’t assume that you will be able to take your children. It’s important to notify your ex about the event as soon as you find out and see if you can agree on a substitute schedule. Always follow the rules of your custody agreement and if major problems arise or reoccur, talk with your divorce lawyer.

Don’t Make the Trip About You

Going on vacation with your kids can be an unforgettable experience, but make sure you’re not making the trip about you. Even though you may not have an amicable relationship with your ex, keep in mind that your children may want to keep in contact with their other parent while away from home. Never make them feel guilty for wanting to make a phone call to check in or if they say they “miss” the other parent. When planning your trip, talk with your ex and figure out times/ways to communicate while you’re traveling. Not only should you allow your children to speak with the other parent, but your ex should also respect your time alone with your kids and shouldn’t spend a great deal of time interfering with your vacation.

While you may want to make your vacation a “trip to remember”, resist the urge to overspend and buying your children whatever they want. Sometimes, without intention, one parent may come across as trying to be the “good” or “fun” parent. If you plan a great vacation, you shouldn’t have to buy your children’s happiness. Additionally, if you pay for child support, you need to keep your finances in order. The money you spend on a vacation cannot be exchanged with any amount of child support.

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