Best Practices for Post-Separation Travel with Children
Spring and summer breaks are upon us. It’s starting to feel more like a normal post-Covid world. You have two year-old travel vouchers waiting to be used. So naturally, it’s finally time to take a real vacation with the kids! But perhaps in these last couple of years you and your children’s other parent separated or got divorced and neither of you have traveled with the children yet. Even if you have been separated for a while, there are some things you should be doing with your co-parent when you are traveling with the children.
Many of these practices may already be outlined in your separation agreement obligating you to follow them, but even if your agreement or custody court order is not this specific, it’s best to follow these few pieces of advice. First, always provide ample notice to your co-parent regarding the week of your travel. Since it is possible that your travel could impede on your co-parent’s access time, they should have an opportunity to plan for that change. If possible, it is also best to clear the week of your travel with them prior to booking any flights or hotels. If your vacation is in the summer, you and your co-parent may also need to consider summer camps or other work-related childcare costs that could potentially be avoided so the sooner you discuss your vacation week, the better!
It’s also important to provide your co-parent with your travel itinerary, including flight and hotel information. This may seem invasive, especially if you’re not on the best of terms, but at the end of the day, the children belong to the other parent as well and it brings peace of mind to a parent to know where in the world their children are. Plus, it’s always good for the other parent to have that information in case of an emergency.
The last couple of things aren’t always necessary but I think they are courteous. Try to maintain some connection between the children and their other parent. For some children, a week might be the longest they have ever gone without seeing their other parent. Oftentimes one or two quick phone calls or video calls that week go a long way, for the other parent as well as for the kids. Parents love receiving pictures of their kids so it may even be nice to share a couple of pictures of your kids at a cool place or doing a fun new activity. No matter what your relationship is like with your co-parent, just remember that they are also the children’s parent and it’s in the children’s best interest for you to maintain a positive relationship with them. Sometimes the things you do that you wish you didn’t have to, you do for your children and not for the other parent.