When parents divorce, it is normal for them to subsequently take their children on vacation separately after separation. As part of a custody order, it is always a good idea to discuss and agree on some ground rules, such as:
- Giving the other party sufficient written notice of your intent to take the children on vacation. At least 30 days prior notice is advisable, although the parties can agree on any time period. Informing the other parent with sufficient advance notice allows the parties to address schedule changes ahead of time.
- Providing a written itinerary of when you will be leaving for vacation, when you will be returning, air flight information, and contact information for where you will be staying on vacation in the event of an emergency.
- Whether travel out of the state or out of the United States is permitted. Once that is worked out, then any travel out of the state or out of the country with the children would require prior written consent of the other party or otherwise a court order. Another issue to consider is whether travel outside the United States can be to a non-Hague Convention country. The Hague Convention is basically a uniform international set of laws that address how child abduction in a country that formally recognizes the Hague Convention laws, which allows for a systematic way to deal with a child abduction based on one set of laws. If a child abduction occurs in a non-Hague Convention country, a parent is beholden to the laws and legal system of that country which can be very difficult to deal with. Therefore, look up the list of Hague Convention countries should you or your ex-spouse decide to travel out of the country with the children to determine whether such travel is agreeable.
- Determine the number of weeks each parent can vacation with the children, and whether the weeks can be consecutive (back-to-back) or one week at a time only. If you are planning to travel out of the country, especially to visit family, one week will probably not be enough time for such a vacation.
- Determine if there are certain activities that will not be permitted during the vacation, such as para-sailing, offroad dirt biking, etc., that would be considered dangerous.
Remember that being reasonable and considerate of the other parent concerning these issues will go a long way in co-parenting with your ex-spouse. After all, if you are not willing to allow the other parent to travel out of the state with the children, then that parent is not going to be willing to work with you when you need some flexibility from them.
Gerald A. Maggio is an experienced Orange County divorce and family law attorney and family law attorney located in Irvine, California, serving the Orange County and Riverside areas. Mr. Maggio assists clients with legal issues including divorce, legal separation, divorce mediation, child custody, prenuptial agreements, stepparent adoptions, and other family law issues. Mr. Maggio has practiced law in California since 1999, and founded The Maggio Law Firm in 2005, focusing exclusively on divorce and family law matters.