Palmer Rodak & Associates
Palmer Rodak & Associates
Certified Family Law Specialists State Bar of California Board of Legal SpecializationServing your Community for 19 Years
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Taking a vacation from your custody arrangement

No matter what your feelings were for your former spouse, you were probably happy to see the divorce process end, even if you weren't happy to see the marriage end. Whether your divorce was contentious or amicable, listing, weighing and dividing your belongings was no doubt tedious and upsetting. Perhaps no part of the divorce was more emotional than deciding the custody arrangements.

In a perfect world, you and your ex-spouse worked out a plan together, and the court approved it. On the other hand, if you were unable to reach an agreement with your spouse through California's mandatory mediation, the court provided a plan based on the mediator's recommendations. This may be working as well as you expected, except that summer is here, and you want to take the kids on a special trip.

Vacations and court-ordered custody

Your parenting plan likely includes provisions for vacation, including how far away you can take the children and how long your vacation with them can be. Nevertheless, maybe you want to take them out of state to visit relatives. Maybe your work schedule changed, and you need to move your vacation to a different week than the one the court assigned. Maybe you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take the kids to another country.

If any of these situations means a high likelihood of a battle with your ex, you may be concerned. Family advisors recommend that you keep the following in mind:

  • Inform your co-parent well ahead of your planned departure.
  • Be willing to share details of your planned trip with your parenting partner.
  • Never take the children away without telling their other parent.
  • If your trip deviates from the custody schedule, prepare an alternate schedule to suggest to your ex-spouse and be open to his or her arguments.
  • Consider revisiting a mediator if you and your ex cannot come to an agreement.

Prepare for the fact that, if you and your former spouse cannot reach an understanding allowing you to take the kids on vacation, you may have to return to court or cancel your plans. To avoid spending your summer waiting for a court date, you may want to instigate these discussions as early as possible.

Calmer heads prevail

It is possible that, in future summers, you and your spouse may be able to communicate more openly and cooperate more fully in raising your children. However, if this is not the case this summer, it may be wise to allow your attorney to intercede for you through your ex-spouse's attorney. Your lawyer may also advise you on making modifications to your parenting plan and ensure your parental rights are protected.

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Palmer Rodak & Associates
Certified Family Law Specialists State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

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