How to get through summer custody snags

If you are a divorced parent, you may already be dreading the annual summer vacation when the kids are out of school and custody arrangements can become chaotic. This is especially true regarding the parents’ separate vacation plans.

Try these tips to have a more pleasant vacation experience with your child this summer.

— Make your plans early. If your custody agreement spells out the time each parent will have with the child, make sure your vacation plans reflect that. If your agreement is more fluid, make sure that you discuss your plans well in advance with the other parent to avoid conflicts.

— Be leery of trips out of Canada to countries that don’t honour the terms of the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction. This system is in place to deter international child abductions and offers legal precepts to get children back home after parental abductions.

— Be clear about your plans. Send texts or emails to document your destinations, and the dates you will be where. Your child’s other parent may still have the right to have telephone or Skype visits while the child vacations with you, so make sure that this can be managed.

— Prepare the kids well in advance. Children do better with routines, and when this changes, they need time to adjust.

— Write a checklist. Make sure that the child’s shots are up-to-date and that any medications are refilled for the trip.

— Don’t compete with the other parent over vacation plans. Focus on having a safe and happy trip spending quality time with your child without trying to outdo the other parent.

If, despite your best efforts, the other parent is non-compliant with summer visitation or vacations, it may be time to revisit the custody matter in court.

Source: The Huffington Post Canada, “6 Summer Vacation Tips for Divorced or Separated Parents,” Kyung (Kathryn) Dickerson, accessed April 08, 2016

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