Summer is here and that means the kids are out of school. Generally, summer is a common time for families to plan vacations. But, if you share custody of your children with their other parent, it’s not just as easy as packing everything and getting in the car. There are additional steps that need to be taken – whether you are traveling to another, city, state, or even country. Here are some tips for traveling with kids when you are co-parenting and have a custody agreement in place.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Probably the most complicated step of the process of traveling with you kids under a custody order is the planning process. Deciding on travel dates can be extremely stressful. The first thing you will want to look at is your custody agreement. Ideally, you will want to choose a time where you are scheduled to have your child or children. This does not mean that you will have to choose only one of those times though. If you and your ex communicate well and are willing to work together, sometimes the schedule can be altered to allow you to take your children on a time that wouldn’t normally be yours. It’s best to get any modification agreements in writing, just in case.
Communication is key. It’s important to talk with your co-parent regarding scheduling, even if you decide to vacation during your scheduled time. It’s nice for parents to know where their kids are – and likely you would like the same notification if you ex takes the kiddos on his or her time. It is less likely to cause issues when everyone is on the same page. If notifying your co-parent is necessary per the parenting agreement, then make sure you do so in writing. This will ensure that you are covered if there is ever a question about whether you followed procedures correctly.
While it’s likely you will remember to pack clothing and other necessary items, there are some important documents that you should bring related to your kids as well. You should bring a copy of the custody agreement with you. This way, if there is a question while you are away, you have the necessary paperwork with you. This would include bringing the signed document from the other parent stating that the plan was modified for the vacation and/or a copy of the letter provided to your ex regarding the vacation.