For divorced parents, planning for spring break can present a variety of difficult challenges. Depending on your children’s ages, whether you (or your children) want to travel, whether you work full-time, and a variety of other factors, making arrangements that satisfy everyone can seem like a struggle of epic proportions.
When planning for spring break after a divorce, one of the first things you need to do is take a close look at your custody agreement or parenting plan. What does it say, if anything, about spring break? Does it address holidays or time off from school generally? Does it give you (or your former spouse) the right to travel with your children; and, if so, under what stipulations or conditions?
Co-Parenting or Separate Parenting After a Divorce: Spring Break Travel and Expenses
Whether you and your former spouse have agreed to a co-parenting arrangement or you have agreed to largely parent your children separately, spring break is a time when many divorced parents need to come together to make decisions regarding their children. Some of the most-common types of issues to be resolved include the following:
1. Daycare and Transportation
If neither you nor your former spouse will be traveling with your children, what will you do about daycare and transportation? Will one of you stay home while your children are off from school; or, will you need to pay for daycare or a sitter? If the latter, who will be responsible for making sure your children get where they need to be on time? For parents who are not traveling and who are unable to take time off from work, spring break can often feel more like a hassle than a vacation.
2. Traveling with You
If you want to take your children on vacation during summer break, do you have the legal ability to do so? Even if you have custody or visitation rights during the week, you may still need to separately make sure that you can take your children out of the state under the terms of your arrangement with your former spouse.
3. Traveling with Your Former Spouse
If your spouse wants to travel with your children, he or she may be subject to the same restrictions as you. Or, if you each have different custody and visitation rights, your spouse could have more or less flexibility depending upon the specific terms of your divorce. If you are opposed to your former spouse’s travel plans, you should determine whether you have the right to object; and, generally speaking, it will be best to raise the issue sooner rather than later.
4. Traveling with Friends
What if your children want to spend spring break with their friends? What if your former spouse is okay with it and you are not (or vice versa)? Depending upon the terms of your custody agreement or parenting plan, this may be a decision that one of you has the right to make independently; or, it could be a decision that requires your mutual agreement.
Once again, these are all questions that, ideally, will be addressed in your custody agreement or parenting plan. If not, you and your spouse will need to come to terms, and you will need to be careful to avoid anything that could potentially violate the terms of your divorce settlement.
For example, if you travel out of state with your children in violation of your custody agreement and without your former spouse’s consent, this could potentially give your former spouse grounds to pursue legal action against you.
Questions? Speak with a Cleveland Family Law Attorney at Laubacher & Co.
If you have questions about your parenting rights, or if you need to enforce the terms of your custody agreement or parenting plan against your former spouse, the attorneys at Laubacher & Co. can help. To schedule a free consultation at our Cleveland family law offices, please call (440) 336-8687 or tell us how we can help online today.