Written by Jonathan Breeden
A lot changes after getting a divorce. Your daily life with your kids is forced to evolve. You have to navigate new schedules and dynamics. You suddenly have to share or split birthdays and holidays. So much changes that it’s natural to want to continue certain traditions or make new ones. Family vacations can be an excellent way to do that, but you have to be thoughtful about planning.
Family vacation after a divorce requires you to review the custody agreement, consider several legal and practical implications, and communicate with your children’s other parent. North Carolina divorce lawyer Jonathan Breeden recommends asking yourself a few questions before making any definite vacation plans. If you have any questions about your parental rights in regard to traveling and family vacations, call Breeden Law Office at (919) 661-4970, or reach out through the online form to learn more.
When you are ready to plan a family vacation, the first step is to take a look at when your children are off from school, and when you will have physical custody of them. If you wish to minimize conflict with your children’s other parent, then it’s a good idea to schedule a vacation when you would already have your children at your home.
If you are on good terms with the other parent, and they may be willing to rearrange the parenting schedule, you can discuss the vacation with them. This may give you more flexibility in when you plan to leave and return. It also may give you the opportunity to look for less costly flights and hotel arrangements.
Before you get excited about planning a trip to an out-of-state venue, review the child custody order. Can you take your children out of the state? Do you need permission from the other parent or court to take your children out of state?
If you are unsure of your right to take your children out of state for vacation, speak with an experienced child custody lawyer.
You may wish to take your children somewhere tropical, or another location with a long and rich history. Many of these locales are outside of the United States. Or, you may be interested in taking your children on a cruise, which would enter international or other nation’s waters.
Before buying any tickets or making reservations, consult the child custody order regarding whether you can take your children out of the country, and whether you need the other parent’s consent to do so.
If may be that your child custody order doesn’t address traveling abroad, in which case you should speak with your child’s other parent. If they refuse to cooperate in your vacation plans, or try to stop you from traveling with your children, talk with an attorney right away.
Famous couples have made headlines recently after openly vacationing together with their kids despite being divorced. Vacationing with your ex may not be an option. You may not be able to get along for more than a few hours or minutes at a time. In this case, separate vacations are the way to go.
However, if you and your children’s other parent are on good terms and can still have a fun or a relaxing time together, then consider a joint family vacation. It also can be easier to wrangle your children when both parents are present to provide one-on-one time and discipline as needed.
That being said, carefully consider whether vacationing together is best for your children. It can be confusing and give them the wrong impression that their parents may reunite. It also can confuse the new boundaries. After a divorce, everyone has to relearn new habits and boundaries, and when you and the other parent spend a great deal of time together, new habits may not be formed like they need to be.
Planning a family vacation after a divorce means truly planning ahead. Impromptu vacations or trips on short notice are rarely a good idea. Instead, carefully consider your schedule and parenting rights and communicate with the other parent about your intentions.
Also, talk with your child custody attorney about preparing all of the right documents. In addition to having passports or IDs for your children, you also may need documents showing you can travel out of state or abroad with your children.