Divorced Parents: Planning for Family Vacations
There are a number of different ways that families are adjusting to the realities of divorce these days.
You may have read about celebrities who decide they will all vacation together – former spouse, their new partner, wife or husband and their new partner and all of the kids combined into one big happy family in a lovely vacation paradise.
If this does not describe your reality, you are not alone.
Especially in the case of newly divorced parents, emotions are still raw, and it is not likely you will all be cohabitating in a luxury spot anytime soon. Any disagreements can lead to even larger battles that you want to avoid for the sake of the kids.
So how does one plan for these events?
Putting the Kids First
What do the kids want to do and are you willing to travel there?
Let’s say it’s Disney World and you and your former spouse are on the same page that you will take them. Are you able to go at the same time and not fight in front of the children?
If not, consider splitting your time – maybe one person takes the first 3 days, the other for the next three days. You can rent one hotel and just split the time. As one vacates, the other parent arrives.
If possible, you can go at the same time. One parent can take the kids to the park while the other has some spa time or takes off to go shopping. You plan ahead to all have dinner together, which the kids probably prefer, sort of like the family they once had.
Schedules Are Important
Keeping everyone on the same page is vital and a schedule is the way to do that. It will be up to both parents to come to an agreement and even mediate before a neutral third-party or the court, if necessary. It’s important then to follow-through on the agreed arrangements.
Your child custody agreement will outline what the parameters of your vacation time can look like. Are you limited with how far you can travel? Can you take the children out-of-state and for how long?
Communication between the parents will minimize any problems. You are probably required to inform the other parent about the whereabouts of the children at all times, including taking them out-of-state. You may have to seek a binding agreement by submitting it to family court.
If you are in the midst of a divorce, the parent who wants to take the child to another state on vacation must do so with the written consent of the other parent to avoid facing contempt of court charges.
Understand that traveling out-of-state is not the same as a relocation of the child. It is temporary and the child is expected to return.
Time-sharing conflicts often pose some of the most contentious parental conflicts. A time-sharing agreement is required under Florida law as part of the child custody agreement.
In the agreement, both parents must agree to how much time each will spend with the child including vacations, weekends, school holidays, and even overnights. It is in your best interest to coming to some agreement over this between the two sides because your other option is to have the court become involved.
A judge can appoint a parenting coordinator to mediate any disputes the couple cannot. It is always best to come to your own agreements as the court-imposed agreement might not be agreeable to either of the parties.
Your Florida Family Law Attorney
Crystal Collins Spencer is a dedicated and experienced attorney who focuses on family law matters and all of their ramifications. Understanding and committed, and with 30 years of courtroom experience, she has addressed matters such as alimony and child support, paternity, child custody, and hidden assets.
She will aggressively advocate for you with regards to child custody and parenting agreements and other important family legal matters.
You can reach her to begin the conversation in her Pensacola office at 850-795-4910. We can also arrange a remote consultation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the court system moving more slowly, we can prepare much of the necessary paperwork to outside of the court to move your case forward.