When you decided to sever your marital ties in a California courtroom, you probably spent much time thinking ahead to the future, considering how your decisions would impact your children and family life. Many parents divorce, but each family's circumstances are different; therefore, a parenting plan that works for one divorcing couple may be a recipe for disaster in another situation.
Just about everything concerning daily life changes after divorce. Something many parents fail to consider is how parenting plan agreements may affect summer vacation plans. Generally speaking, after divorce, the days will be gone when you can spontaneously pick up and go wherever you like whenever you choose to do so with your children.
Tips for avoiding summer vacation and custody disputes
Your bond with your children obviously doesn't end when you end a marital relationship with their other parent. Your parental rights remain intact as well. This doesn't mean, however, that you'll be free to travel without some form of communication and agreement with your former spouse. Below are ideas that can help you avoid problems:
- State laws vary, but most require a traveling parent to provide reasonable notice to the other parent, including a copy of a planned itinerary and means for communicating with children while on vacation.
- Carefully reviewing existing court orders, child custody, and visitation agreements before finalizing travel plans often helps prevent negative surprises.
- It's a good idea to make hard copies of any and all agreements and/or correspondence that take place between you and your former spouse regarding individual travel plans. It's also wise to keep these documents with you while traveling.
- When a vacation interrupts an existing visitation plan, substitute time may be allotted to the parent whose time with children is cut short.
- There are ways to ensure a parent traveling abroad with children will adhere to an existing child custody agreement. A Ne Exeat Bond safeguards against a parent's possible refusal to return a child to the United States at an agreed upon time.
Most parents look forward to building new and lasting memories with their children on summer vacation, holidays and other special occasions. Whether you're a custodial or non-custodial parent, you retain parental rights and can plan fun adventures with your children, as well as expect your children's co-parent to adhere to all existing court orders.
If your rights are violated in some way, or if you have questions regarding a particular custody issue, you can discuss the matter with an experienced family law attorney before finalizing your summer vacation plans.