Vacations and Parenting Plans
Vacations can be a very good opportunity for co-parents to spend time and bond with their child. The only problem is that vacations can be a very difficult thing to plan around your defined parenting plan. Vacations and parenting plans often conflict with one another, which is why it is very important for co-parents to setup certain rules regarding vacations that will be defined in their parenting plan.
Defining vacations in your parenting plan
Defining how vacation time will be handled is only a very small part of what should go into an appropriate parenting plan, but it’s also a very important part. While discussing the details of your parenting plan with your co-parent it’s important to spend an adequate amount of time on how you will treat vacation time. Most co-parents are often able to come to the agreement that vacation schedules should take precedence over regularly scheduled parenting time. This means that if a child is regularly scheduled to be with their mother from December 24 through December 25 but the father has been chosen to have custody over Christmas break the child will spend Christmas with the father due to the precedence that the vacation takes over the regular custody schedule.
When vacation time is given precedence over the regular custody schedule it is important to ensure that both co-parents have equal vacation time with their child. Co-parents should spend some time discussing how they will split up these vacation times between themselves and also define this process within the parenting plan. Before co-parents are able to split up vacation times they must actually define all of the vacation time that will occur throughout the year. The easiest way to do this is to make a list of all of the vacation time that the child will have throughout the year and just split them up equally between both co-parents. The method uses fixed dates, meaning that the vacation dates that each parent receives will already be predetermined within the parenting plan. Another method of splitting up vacation time between co-parents is to use flexible dates. The idea behind this method is that each co-parent will receive a predetermined amount of vacation time for the whole year that they can use at any time. For instance, each co-parent may be given three weeks of vacation time for the whole year, the father may choose to use his three weeks to take his child on vacation during the summer months while the child is out of school, and the mother may choose to use her three weeks over the winter months while the child is out of school for Christmas break.
Avoiding conflict when planning a vacation
Vacations and parenting plans have been known to cause a lot of conflict between co-parents mainly due to a lack of communication. When planning a vacation with your child make sure to keep your co-parent in the loop regarding your plans. This includes letting your co-parent know about travel dates, where you will be staying, contact information, and anything else related to your travel plans. Be sure to include a clause in your parenting plan about how you will communicate the details of your travel plans with your co-parent. Proper planning and communication with your co-parent regarding a vacation will help to reduce any conflict that might occur.
Indicating vacations on your child custody calendar
The OurFamilyWizard Calendar can help you to create holiday schedules quickly and easily. This unique tool gives you the ability to setup your normal child custody schedule and also setup a separate vacation schedule that will be given precedence over the first. For more information on how you can quickly and easily collaborate your vacations and parenting plan please visit our Custody Calendar Features webpage.