How Vacations and Summer Travel Impact Parenting PlansThis is the time of year when parents start planning vacations and make plans for the summer months. When you are going through a divorce, or after the divorce is finalized, the parenting plan agreement is an important document that will govern the communications between the two co-parents. Even when the co-parents have a relatively amicable relationship, the parenting plan agreement is a vital document that is agreed upon and enforced by the court.

When parents are going through the divorce process, either they work together and come to an agreement about the custody arrangement, or the court develops an agreement for them. Customarily, one parent will be the primary residential parent where the child will live most of the time. The other parent will have visitation, or parenting time with the child every other weekend and during specified school holidays, vacation periods and some portion of or all of the summer break. If the parents have an amicable relationship and one parent decides to plan a trip out of state or out of the country that is not on their regular parenting time schedule, each parent may be able to be flexible enough to trade days and revise the calendar so that the child can travel with the other parent.

There are, however, divorced couples who will not be able to make a reasonable change to the parenting plan agreement and they will do their best to thwart the plans of the other parent simply for spite. When parents are unable – or unwilling – to agree to a change in the parenting plan agreement to allow for an extended out-of-state or out of the country vacation, one of the parents will file a motion with the court to request a ruling about the vacation. Given the full dockets on most courts, it will likely take a few months before you receive a ruling, which can put a hitch in your travel plans.

If you think that it seems ridiculous to petition the court because you and your former spouse are unable to come to an agreement about vacation dates, you would be correct. It is a smart policy that however adversarial the divorce was, to find a way to develop a civil, businesslike approach to dealing with your child’s other parent–your former spouse. We are not suggesting that you become their BFF, but in the absence of an amicable, congenial rapport, finding a way to treat them as you might treat any other human being– with polite friendliness. Learning and practicing effective co-parenting skills will go a long way toward avoiding the need to run to court every time something comes up that requires a minor modification of the schedule in the parenting plan.

When all else fails and you must file an emergency motion because the other parent is being intractable, you can enlist the services of a family law attorney from the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates to make sure that your child’s interests are being protected.

If you are a parent who is thinking about divorce, but you have concerns about how it will affect your child, you are welcome to contact the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates today. We have offices in Brentwood and Columbia as well, to better serve you.