Summer is traditionally when people take vacations. After all, kids are out of school, and the weather is typically beautiful. However, summer vacation trips can become much more complicated in the wake of a divorce. You and your ex both want to spend time with the children as possible, which can create additional scheduling stressors.
The good news is that with the right attitude and some pre-planning, you can approach your divorce and summertime co-parenting with a healthy and positive attitude. As long as you’re open to compromise, are flexible and able to communicate with your ex, all can enjoy a relaxing summer.
You may both need to contribute toward childcare and recreational expenses
You’ve probably dreamed of the perfect vacation for everyone after the stress of the divorce. No one wants to be the boring parent in charge of cooking meals and doling out discipline, but those tasks are a huge part of parenting. If you want to enjoy the fun stuff with your kids, you also need to do the dull, thankless work as well.
If you and your ex both work, the summer can present additional childcare costs. Both of you should do what you can to work childcare into your daily schedules. Maybe you can alternate working from home every other week to keep an eye on the kids. Perhaps split-shifts are an option. Talk with your ex and do your best to focus on the kids having a great summer.
Often there are additional expenses during summer, e.g., tuition for sleep-away camp or tennis or swimming lesson fees. Whenever possible, both parents should contribute to these shared expenses for the kids. A well-drafted parenting plan can detail how such expenses are handled and reimbursed.
Talk things out before you book any major trips
Maybe there’s a great sale on airline tickets to your kids’ favorite theme park. It’s also possible you just want to use your vacation days before they expire. Before you pull out your miles card to book a vacation, however, you should touch base with your ex. You should also ensure that your divorce and custody terms allow you to travel to your desired destination.
There could be a major event on your ex’s side of the family, perhaps a birthday milestone celebration or a family reunion. The dates of your planned vacation could also overlap with your ex’s own scheduled vacation time from work, meaning he or she wants to spend time with the kids then, too. Talking about it before you book anything is the best way to avoid stress and fighting.
Try to focus on the kids
Things come up, and plans change all the time. Being willing to reschedule your own time with the kids is a good way to ensure your ex’s cooperation at some future point. While you may feel frustrated at changing your plans, remember how important maintaining both parental relationships can be for your children. If you feel angry or unable to work with your ex, try to refocus on your kids and what they need.
When your kids are at the center of every decision you make, it will be much easier to make things work with your ex, even if there are complications during vacation planning.