Summer can get complicated for divorced parents. For the kids, it's unlimited free time. Parents often want to take advantage of that to go on vacation, but divorced parents have an obligation to follow the custody decree. They can't just do whatever they want, or they could violate the other parent's rights.
"If your divorce is final, you are required to abide by your final divorce decree regarding summer visitation," noted one financial planner. "I recommend that you go back and read your divorce decree to make sure you are clear on your rights and obligations. If you do not yet have a final divorce decree, I highly recommend that you seek to get a temporary agreement in place for the summer."
You also want to start working with your ex and your kids as soon as possible to figure out what you're going to do. Don't put it off. Here are three major reasons to get those plans in place early:
- You make sure that you and your ex both get time with the kids and that there are no conflicts -- i.e., both of you wanting to take the kids on a trip during the same week.
- You can plan out your trip in advance, booking hotels and making other logistical decisions. Once you know what time you have, you can plan.
- You can ask for time off from work. If you use childcare, you can also cancel it for that time.
Essentially, as a divorced parent, you just have a lot of pieces to juggle to make the summer go smoothly. The sooner you start working on it, the better. Be sure you fully understand your legal rights as you move through this process.