We are in the heat of summer, literally and figuratively, and divorced parents are in the midst of coordinating parenting time schedules and summer vacations, along with their children’s summer camps and extracurricular activities. While this season allows for more flexibility and time spent with children, summer parenting time schedules and vacations usually require advanced and careful planning.
At Lyons & Associates, we specialize in all aspects of matrimonial and family law, including helping divorced and separated parents who share joint legal custody plan out their summer vacations and parenting time schedules. Below are some tips to ensure that coordinating summer parenting time plans with your ex-spouse goes smoothly:
- Create a Plan – A well-crafted divorce settlement agreement provides a specific outline for parenting time during the school year, as well as during summer vacation. Whether children will be attending summer camp or engaging in various extracurricular activities, the summer provides an opportunity for parents sharing joint legal custody to delineate schedules that allow for more parenting time and vacation time. A divorce settlement agreement should give each parent the opportunity to have some vacation time, whether it is the standard minimum of two weeks vacation and whether those two weeks should be consecutive or non-consecutive. Of course, if parents want to come to an agreement on additional vacation time, they certainly are permitted to do so. It is important, however, that the allotted vacation time be memorialized in the divorce settlement agreement.
- Provide Notice – Divorce settlement agreements should contain notice provisions requiring either parent to notify the other of when they wish to exercise their summer vacation parenting time. Generally, such agreements require at least thirty (30) days notice, allowing the other parent to plan their own schedules for the summer while also preventing the other parent from scheduling their own vacation with the children during the same period of time.
- Continue Open Communication – Divorce settlement agreements should require continued open communication between parents regarding the vacation itself. Provisions in the agreement should require the vacationing parent to provide information to the non-vacationing parent about where they will be traveling, when the vacation will take place, details about the accommodations, itineraries, and their contact information. Additionally, the vacationing parent should be required to ensure continued contact between the children and the non-vacationing parenting while they are away.
What Happens if the Non-Vacationing Parent Will Not Consent to the Vacation?
Once again, a well-crafted settlement agreement should account for such circumstances. While the consent of both parents sharing joint legal custody is required for a parent to go on vacation with the children, along with notice and communication provisions, the settlement agreement should contain a provision that does not allow a parent to unreasonably withhold their consent to a vacation. In other words, the parent withholding their consent must have a legitimate cause or concern for choosing to not allow the children to vacation with the vacationing parent. If your settlement agreement does not contain such a provision, you may find yourself forced to return to court to obtain a court order allowing you to go on vacation with your children.
At Lyons & Associates, we can help craft a well designed settlement agreement to ensure that summer vacation parenting time with your children goes smoothly. Call one of our experienced attorneys today at 908-575-9777, or fill out our online intake form.
Written by: Kristyl M. Berckes, Esq.