It’s the last leg of the summer before school starts up again, and for many families, this means it’s time to start packing for that long-awaited vacation! When you’re co-parenting during the summer, though, preparing for a trip with the kids is a bit more extensive.
Traveling with kids can be an incredible, memorable experience for everyone, but it can also bring up an array of challenges that can be intensified when separated from your co-parent.
The best thing to do is set yourself up for success with lots of communication and pre-planning.
5 summer vacation tips for separated co-parents
To prepare for a stress-free trip where you can have the peace of mind you need to spend quality time with the kids, consider these 5 tips before setting jet.
1. Communicate early and be respectful
If you’ve been dreaming about taking the kids on a camping trip, tell your co-parent early on. Have respect for your co-parent and tell them your idea before you get into the heavy planning, so they don’t feel like you’re springing this idea on them last minute. Give them patience and be understanding of any questions or concerns they may have and address these concerns to the best of your ability.
2. Review your parenting plan
Your parenting plan and joint custody agreement should have details outlining travel time and holidays with your kids. There may be details about how much time you should get on vacations, and potentially agreements you and your co-parent made about trips during the busy summer period. Make sure you review the plan and walk through any concerns or questions you have with your ex.
3. Plan logistics thoroughly
Once you and your co-parent have agreed on travel dates, make sure you set yourself up for the trip by getting organized. It’s a smart idea to lay out a detailed travel schedule and itinerary for you and your ex, with specifics on where you’re staying, when you’re staying there, and emergency contact info. Including this plan will reassure them of safety concerns while their kids are away.
Make sure you get all the documents you need to travel, like passports, vaccination cards, COVID-19 tests, and more. Do your research to understand what pandemic-related documents you need.
4. Communicate with your co-parent during the trip
Before your trip, discuss with your co-parent on check-in times to eliminate any stress or anxiety they may have while their kids are away. When dealing with a remote location or new time zone, make sure communication is well planned before you head out so you’re not leaving your ex in the dark.
- Have a morning and/or evening Facetime or Zoom call with the co-parent so they can talk with the kids
- Text or email lots of pictures and updates to your co-parent
- If you’re going to a new time zone, have a call time that works for both of you
- If you’re going to a remote location with limited service, communicate expectations upfront with your co-parent
5. Vacations are not a competition
Peaceful co-parenting means mutual respect. Don’t make this trip a competition with your ex. Show your compassion and care for your co-parent and remember the real focus of doing this trip is to spend quality time with your kids.
Talk to a lawyer to understand more about child custody rights
Summer trips can be a fun, significant time for you and your kids, so don’t let co-parenting and shared custody stress get in the way of that quality time. To learn about how child custody arrangements are made, what child custody questions to ask, to change a child custody order, or to receive help with another child custody matter, get a consultation from a lawyer.
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