Child Custody Tips During Your Summer Vacation
Summer break is supposed to be a time of fun and freedom between the beginning and end of the school year. The summer months are ideal for vacation time, but child custody agreements and summer vacations can sometimes clash and blow up into contentious legal battles. It's no fun for you, the other parent, and it's certainly not in your child's best interests.
It doesn't have to blow up into something unpleasant. But it doesn't have to be that way. Here are some tips on how to deal with summer vacations and child custody agreements in an amicable way:
1. Create a vacation schedule.
If you don't already have a solid parenting plan in place, it's often a good idea to agree on a custody schedule that makes provisions for vacations as a way to preemptively deal with any potential conflict that could arise from summer vacations. Child custody law is different in each state, so you can consult FindLaw's guide on Child Custody and Visitation Information by State for information about your specific case.
If approved by a court, a vacation schedule can replace a regular custody schedule during holidays. Such an agreement should be created as far in advance of the vacation as possible, so a court can approve the deal and make it legally binding. Courts generally allow for a good deal of flexibility either in the parenting plan or the vacation schedule, and you can ask to implement tools such as virtual visitation.
If no holiday agreement is in place, child custody agreements generally allow a parent to take a child wherever she or he chooses, as long as the child is not in danger and there aren't any other restrictions (for example, limits on out-of-state or foreign travel).
2. Notify the other parent.
In general, it's a good idea to notify the other co-parent of your travel plans with your shared child, even if it's during your the parenting time you've been allotted according to your custody arrangement. Even non-custodial parents have the right to know where their children are in case of an emergency.
If you refuse to disclose your summer plans to the other parent, you may be forced to explain yourself by court order. A judge will typically order a parent to divulge vacation plans for safety reasons, unless there's a compelling reason not to.
All this can be avoided with a simple phone call to your co-parent explaining your travel plans.
3. Mediate your differences.
Another way to resolve child custody and summer vacation disputes is to mediate your differences in front of a neutral decision-maker. Parents can hire a private mediator, or each party can hire a child-custody lawyer and resolve their disputes without going to court. If you should choose to involve professional help, FindLaw's free legal directory will help you find a qualified family law attorney in your area.
However you choose to handle child custody and summer vacations, FindLaw's free Guide to Child Custody offers a concise summary of the major issues in custody cases and how they can be resolved.
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