Vacation during the summer is a very large point of contention between separated parents. Custody orders can only deal with so much and the rest is left up to the parents to attempt to work together. In central Pennsylvania, the norm is two non-consecutive weeks of vacation for each parent, unless the parents agree otherwise. If you are one of the lucky ones, you and your ex never fight about who is taking their vacation when, but with a lot of people, this is a hot button issue.
There are a few ways that the inevitable summer vacation fight can be avoided:
- Plan ahead. Most custody orders state that the person who informs the other parent of their vacation plans first gets that time, even if the other parent wanted it. Notify your ex as soon as your plans or solidified. If you go to the beach with your family the same time every year, tell the other parent that so you always have that time guaranteed. Potentially, you can even have that placed in the order. Or, if you are usually a last minute person, make an effort to plan your vacation ahead so you are sure to get that time.
- Notify the other parent. If you make plans without telling the other parent, and they suddenly inform you of their vacation plans over the same time, you will lose out. You must tell the other parent the dates you are using for vacation and do so ASAP!! I have clients who will refuse to tell the other parent of their vacation dates until the very last minute. Do not do this! It causes unneeded stress for everyone and can potentially lead to court time. Also, always let the other parent know where you will be staying and a contact number to get in touch with you or the kids. They have a right to know where their children are staying and a phone number in case there is an emergency.
- Meet with the other parent. If summer vacation is always a time of turmoil and you and your ex have a decent working relationship, maybe the two of you can sit down and work out summer vacation schedules so both of you win. Put your differences aside and remember that both of you want to spend vacation time with the kids, and the kids want to spend vacation time with both of you.
Remember, it is not in the best interest of your kids to always see the two of you fighting. Planning a vacation should be a fun time for you and your kids. Fighting with the other parent takes away from that fun for you and your children.