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Divorce & Spring Break: How to Navigate Traveling and Co-Parenting


Planning travel can be difficult if you and your co-parent are divorced or separated. School holidays such as spring break can lead to tension, arguments and stress. By planning ahead and getting the entire family on the same page, you and your children can enjoy a fun and relaxing vacation this spring.

Plan Ahead for School Breaks and Holidays  

As with any parenting decision after a divorce, planning is key. You and your ex-spouse should create a detailed parenting plan as part of your custody agreement, or else the courts will make one for you. Either way, every school break and holiday should be accounted for in your plan. You and your co-parent should know who the kids will be with during all major holidays, including spring break, summer and Christmas vacation.  

With an advanced parenting plan in place, there won’t be any arguments over whose turn it is with the kids when each holiday rolls around. Planning ahead can also protect your children from the emotional stress of last-minute changes. You and your children can both enjoy greater peace of mind knowing what the plan will be.

Know the Terms of Your Custody Agreement

Before you start planning your spring break, make sure you’re clear on the terms of your custody agreement. This is especially important if you plan on traveling out of the state or country. The farther away you plan on traveling with your children, the more caution you should take to adhere to the terms of your custody agreement. Misunderstanding the terms of your custody agreement and your rights as a parent could lead to accusations of parental kidnapping.

In your court documents allocating legal and physical custody to you and your co-parent, there may be restrictions on your right to travel with the kids. Read the language of your divorce agreement carefully before going anywhere. Note that if your divorce case is still underway, the courts in Colorado enact an automatic temporary injunction that prevents either parent from taking the children out of Colorado without the other parent’s consent or a court order.

Create a Travel Itinerary  

The parent that wishes to travel with the children should create a highly detailed travel itinerary to keep the other parent informed on exactly where the children will be and what they will be doing each day. The itinerary should include where you are staying, how you plan on traveling, your flight or travel information, contact numbers during your trip, and who you will be traveling with. Provide a written itinerary to your co-parent to avoid any disputes or miscommunications.

Communicate as Consistently as Possible

Communication while traveling can be difficult due to time changes or low-service areas; however, you should make an effort to communicate with your co-parent as consistently as possible when you are away with the kids. Keeping your co-parent informed throughout your trip – and allowing the kids to maintain contact with their other parent – can keep your co-parent’s mind at ease and prevent issues.

Consider Traveling With Your Co-Parent

Depending on your situation, the age of your children and your ability to cooperate with your co-parent, traveling together as a family this spring break might be a good option. Traveling together means you can both enjoy time with your kids. It can also mean that you don’t have to swap parenting time and miss another holiday to have the kids for spring break. Finally, your children won’t have to miss out on spending time with one of their parents.

Traveling together as co-parents takes patience, planning and communication. You will need to be able to compromise with your ex-spouse on your plans for the holiday and work out key details together. While on vacation, set boundaries to reduce conflict. Arrange separate accommodations and decide together which room the kids will stay in each night. Be mindful of the experience you are giving your children this spring break; always put them first when making co-parenting decisions for vacations.

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