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Getting Your Child Custody in Order Before Summer Vacation


The summer is coming up quick and for most American families with young children, this means now is the time to start planning vacations. Or, maybe the little ones are being sent to summer camp for a few weeks of outdoor fun and activity? No matter what your June-to-August plans might be, if you have been through a divorce, you also need to revisit your parenting plans and look for potential issues.

How Not to Plan Your Summer Vacation as a Divorcé

Each year, so many divorced spouses forget about their child custody agreement as they make big summertime plans. Plane tickets, theme park admissions, car rentals, and hotel rooms are all often purchased and nonrefundable before they remember that the other parent has just as much say in what their kids do over the summer as they do. Don’t let this happen to you, or your finances.

If you want to go on vacation with your children this summer and you share child custody withthe other parent, you are going to need to talk to them about what to do. Even if you are only thinking about leaving town for a few days, it becomes a huge legal problem if you plan on leaving the state. Violating your child custody agreement, inadvertently or intentionally, can bring about heavy penalties, such as the court taking custody rights away from you. It cannot be stressed enough that you need to think carefully before getting too deep into your summertime plans.

Creating a Temporary Custody Agreement

As mentioned, the first step in avoiding child custody agreement conflicts over summer vacation is talking to the other parent and make a new parenting plan together. Unless the court specifically banned you from doing so at the time of your divorce, you and the other parent can more or less make your own temporary and unofficial child custody agreements. For example, you can agree to have physical custody for two weeks in a row, and then your ex gets the same liberty, rather than following the usual week-by-week exchange.

You should not rely on just the word of the other parent, though. If they forget about your conversation, or decide to betray you, they could tell the court you have violated your child custody agreement without warning by taking your children away for a vacation. Instead, get your makeshift changes in writing and have it double-checked by a family law attorney for any errors.

As any family therapist will say, divorced parents are still parents and need to show their kids the importance of cooperation. Summer vacations might be the prime opportunity to do just that by creating an amicable visitation or parenting time schedule. For all the legal help you might need during this process, you can contact Singleton Smith Law Offices, Inc. and our Murrieta family law attorneys. We have years of family law experience managing difficult and sensitive cases. We also offer free initial consultations to get you started in the right direction without any cost or obligation.