Summer is here, kids are out of school, let the season of fun family vacations begin. Whether it’s a short weekend trip or a long destination vacation, everyone looks forward to getting out of the house. With all the excitement of planning a trip it’s important to remember to prepare and hash out important details in advance. For parents of divorce there is more to the process then simply packing up and heading out the door. Take care of business first to ensure you can give all of your energy and focus to your kids and give them a vacation to remember.
We have listed our Top Five Tips to remember when planning your vacation to make co-parenting as simple as possible:
1. PLAN IN ADVANCE
Review your custody order in regards to holidays and traveling. Be aware of prior agreements made with your co-parent about how time is to be divided. If you are trying to make arrangements outside of your parenting time, try discussing this with your co-parent and reasonably work out a switch if possible. If your ex is unwilling or unable to accommodate your schedule try to restructure your travel plans. If you feel it’s extremely important that the kids are available for a specific time, like a wedding or a funeral, talk to your attorney to review what your options are.
2. GET A TRAVEL CONSENT LETTER
Once you and your co-parent have agreed upon travel plans it’s a good idea to get written consent. This will ensure all parties are not only informed but on the same page about the plans. This will protect you if the co-parent forgets, or changes his or her mind. Be sure to include the children’s full name, date of birth, travel dates, places you plan on going, and contact information while traveling. If you are traveling with a new partner, please be sure to include his or her full name, and contact information as well. It’s a good idea to have a notary public verify both you and your co-parents signatures as well, but you don’t have to.
3. ENSURE YOU HAVE ALL REQUIRED DOCUMENTS
Once you and your co-parent have agreed upon travel plans make sure you collect all documents you will need for travel. Document all travel plans and lock those dates into a shared calendar in addition to any travel agreements made with your co-parent. It’s important to save correspondence and schedule details. If traveling outside of the U.S., all children are required to have a valid passport. If your child needs a passport, both parents are required to consent if you share custody.Learn more about obtaining a passport for children here.
4. REMEMBER SAFETY
Think about where you are going. In the event of an emergency do you have everything you need to ensure the proper care? Is your co-parent the insurance policy holder on the kids? You need to make sure you have access to important information such as insurance, medical history, and known allergies. It’s always better to be overly prepared.
5. HAVE FUN
Once all the details are in order, remember you about to embark on a fun filled adventure with your kids. Have some games and snacks packed for your kids during long drives or flights. Also remember to bring fun gadgets such as an iPod or tablet; with headphones. (Don’t forget to also bring the chargers.) It’s also a good idea to have some kind of schedule, wether you plan the day out with sightseeing or theme parks, but also remember to have a bedtime or naps planned if needed. Traveling post-divorce is a complex process, but it will be worth the trouble in the end.