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Child Custody and Vacation Time for Divorced Parents

As parents, summer break presents different emotions. For divorced parents, summer vacation can cause certain dilemmas. For example, who will get the kids for what part of the summer vacation. Child custody and vacation time is generally discussed in the parenting plan filed in your divorce, but it’s not always outlined in detail. This tends to lead to confusion and tension between divorced parents.

If anyone is in the process of working through the details of their divorce and parenting plan, it’s important to consider how vacations will take place in the future. You’ll want to be sure to define whether vacation time will be fixed or flexible, how many weeks of vacation each parent will get, how the parents will be notified about vacation dates, and whether vacation time will take priority over normal visitation.

Defining how vacation time will be handled is only a very small part of what should go into an appropriate parenting plan, but a very important one. Most parents are often able to come to the agreement that vacation schedules should take precedence over regularly scheduled parenting time. Before parents are able to split up vacation times, they must first 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 the vacation days that the child will have throughout the year and then split them accordingly between the parents. This method is known as fixed dates, which means that the vacation dates each parent received will be predetermined within the parenting plan.

Another common process of splitting up vacation dates between parents is to use flexible dates. This means that each parent will receive a predetermined amount of vacation time for the entire year that they are able to use at any time throughout the year. For example, each parent may be given four weeks of vacation time for the whole year. One parent can choose to use their four weeks over the winter month during holiday break while the other parent may choose to use their four weeks to take their child on vacation during the summer.

Vacations and parenting plans seem to cause a lot of conflict between parents, primarily due to a lack of communication. It’s important that while planning a vacation with your child, you keep the other parent updated about the plans. This includes letting the other parent know about the travel dates, where you will be staying with the child, contact information, and anything else that may be related to the travel plans. It’s essential to include a section in your parenting plan about how you will communicate the details of any travel plans with the other parent. Proper planning and communication with one another regarding a vacation will help reduce any conflict that might occur.

When making a time-sharing schedule, Florida courts encourage parents to work together to make a schedule, they both like. The schedule should give your child frequent and continuing contact with both parents. The child’s age plays a role in determining how long and frequent visits are. Most of the time all of the children in a family stay together for time-sharing. If parents are not able to agree on a schedule, the court will establish the schedule.