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 especially not for your child.
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.
A common way to deal with summer vacations and child custody is to agree on a vacation schedule.
If approved by a court, a vacation schedule can replace a regular child custody agreement during holiday times. 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.
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 parent of your vacation plans with your shared child, so she or he knows where the child is in the event of an emergency.
If you refuse to disclose vacation plans with the other parent, you may get taken to court and ordered to explain why you won't give up the information. A judge will typically order a parent to divulge vacation plans for safety reasons, unless there's a compelling reason not to.
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.
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.