DON’T FORGET TO WORK VACATIONS INTO YOUR PARENTING PLAN
Even though your marriage is over, you and your future ex-spouse realize that you must still work together to continue raising your children. You want to make your co-parenting future a success and know that you have a lot of ground to cover before you reach an agreement regarding your parenting plan.
You establish a way to handle making major decisions regarding the children, decide what to do about sporting events or other extracurricular activities and even discuss the holidays. You make up a visitation schedule that allows each of you as much time with the children as your individual lives and work schedules allow. The plan you and the other parent devised may satisfy you, but did you remember to address vacations?
Without an understandable, enforceable arrangement, a vacation could actually violate your parenting agreement.
When you devised a visitation schedule, you each agreed to abide by it. The way to avoid violating the agreement is to include vacations in your parenting plan. First, you need to agree that vacations take precedence over regularly scheduled visitation times. In some cases, you may even agree that vacations take precedence over holiday arrangements, depending on the circumstances.
Second, you and the other parent may want to specifically agree that each parent receives the same amount of vacation time, even if one parent never leaves the area to take it. Then, you will need to define what “vacation time” means for your family. Will you each take equal amounts of time corresponding to when your child isn’t in school? Will you each receive a certain amount of time to take whenever you wish, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the children’s education requirements?
Regardless of which way you go, make sure you set some rules regarding taking your vacation time in your parenting plan. For instance, you may want to decide how much notice each parent receives regarding when the other parent decides to take his or her vacation time with the children. Will there be limits on how many days a parent may take at one time? What happens if both of you want the same days?
Only you and the other parent can answer these questions for your family. You may need some advice and assistance in order to ensure that you protect your rights while allowing your children to have vacation time with the other parent. Fortunately, this is one more area of your parenting plan in which experience with California family law would come in handy.