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Divorce Blog

Divorced? Travelling with Children Needs to be Planned

By Karen Stewart

Child in Airplane on VacationWith the end of the school year fast approaching, now is a great time to review your parenting plan. Even the most detailed parenting plans usually need some adjusting while the children are out of school for the summer. Summer needs to be addressed differently to help provide guidelines as to how and where your children will spend their time and manage the expectations of both parents.

A good, detailed parenting plan should have specific plans and agreements around summer vacations. The key benefit of the plan is that it is made in advance of the event, and it will address how to deal with conflict if it happens and even prevent conflict in the first place.  While some divorced parents get along well and don’t rely as heavily on the details of the parenting plan, some parents feel there is more freedom in the details. Each parent has a better ability to plan and schedule well in advance, which can save money, time and any potential conflict.

Travel with children must be addressed in a good parenting plan. The language regarding travel arrangements is very important and it is best to be as detailed as possible. The intent of the details is to provide clarification and avoid conflict.

Plans around vacations should include details with respect to:

  • How long is an acceptable vacation? Depending on the age of your children, 4 weeks away might be ok for older children but anything beyond 2 weeks for younger families could be a challenge.
  • When must decisions be made for summer vacation? Usually the earlier the better, which allows parents to book vacation time and time off work.
  • Consider alternating years to decide on holidays spots to be fair. One parent picks an odd calendar year and the other parent on even calendar years.
  • When does the consent letter need to be provided for out of country travel? Permission cannot be withheld and details and schedules need to be shared for safety and emergency purposes. Itinerary should include specific dates and location.
  • Ensure travel insurance is in place.
  • Although this may be a touchy subject, it is important to discuss when it’s appropriate to include new partners into holiday time.
  • When and how will the children stay in touch with the other parent? Being away from your children can be especially difficult when you are not with them on vacation.  Details as to when and how the children will communicate with the parent back home should be decided in advance before the vacation starts.
  • Decide who will keep the passports.
  • Rules for safety, risky sports and activities should be agreed to before the vacation starts. This will offer the stay at home parent less stress knowing there are common sense safety measures in place.

It’s important to be respectful and considerate of the other parent’s feelings.  If you are taking the children away for a vacation, remember there will be times when your children will miss the other parent.  By recognizing and respecting your children’s feelings that a change in routine and missing the other parent is normal, you can help minimize your children’s stress and allow them space to enjoy the vacation with you.

If you feel your children could benefit from having a parenting plan in place or the current plan requires a review, please contact Fairway Divorce Solutions to arrange for a consultation.