When you have children, vacation planning can be complicated. You plan your route and mode of travel for minimum stress and look for places to stay that are close to kid-friendly amenities. If you are traveling over the winter holidays, your schedule will include visits with relatives and events on the most special days.
If you and your children’s other parent are no longer together, you must consider the terms of your custody order before you set any plans in stone. In fact, it is safe to say that gone are the days of just picking up with the kids and heading out of town for the holidays. However, holiday travel does not have to be stressful. First, you may have to accept that you may not always get your way every year.
Covering your bases
You may be fortunate to have the kind of post-relationship rapport that allows you to work out your holiday conflicts reasonably. In most cases, however, the custody order or settlement is the deciding factor. Because of this, it is wise to take the following steps as early as possible before the holidays, especially if you are hoping to take the kids overseas:
- Review your custody plan well ahead of making any travel arrangements with the kids. Your Indiana custody order may expressly restrict the distance you may travel with the children.
- Do not buy plane tickets or make hotel reservations until you are certain your custody schedule supports your plans. It is unwise to assume your ex will agree to give up custody just because you have reservations.
- Have a compromise ready to offer your ex if your travel plans overlap with his or her custody days. Perhaps you can suggest your ex keep the kids longer for the next holiday.
- Have or obtain the appropriate IDs for your children.
- Assure your ex that you will comply with custody orders and return with the children at the designated time by remaining in contact throughout the trip and allowing the children frequent opportunities to communicate with their other parent.
Whether your ex agrees to adjust the custody schedule or you feel this holiday trip is too important for the kids to miss, you will want to seek the advice of an attorney. Verbal changes to custody plans can result in misunderstandings or changes of heart that can quickly become nightmares for parents. To avoid this, many parents have a legal ally advise and review their plans.