As Spring Break approaches, many parents think about spending time with their children. But, things get more complicated for divorced parents who might not have access to their children as much as they would like.
Disputes surrounding time off aren’t uncommon, but they can lead to needless stress and even trips to the courthouse. If you are a divorced parent and want to know how to handle these issues appropriately, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Refer to the Parenting Plan
It’s a lot simpler to figure out who is supposed to be where when it’s written down in black in white. Chances are you have this information already spelled out in your Parenting Plan.
Your Parenting Plan is your go-to for the guidance of already agreed-upon parameters for custody and visitation. It states which parent has primary custody as well as how off-school time will be divided between the parents – including holidays.
Be Honest and Fair (and Flexible)
While a Parenting Plan might serve as your guide, sometimes there’s enough ambiguity to create conflict. If both parents agreed during the divorce that Spring Break time each year would be determined by “mutual agreement of the parties,” what happens when you can’t agree?
The key is to take a more objective and long-term approach to this matter, leaving your emotions at the door whenever possible. Some of the ways you may be able to resolve it include:
- Think long-term. When it comes down to it, Spring Break is just one week. If you don’t get to take the trip you want this year, plan it for the following year or the coming summer.
- Make it fair. Consider splitting the week down the middle or trading off Spring Break every other year with your ex.
- Stay flexible. You or your ex may not want Spring Break due to job constraints or finances. Be ready to make a compromise, such as trading extra time during the summer, for this week during the spring.
Understand Your Limitations
Make sure you have a clear understanding of what your custody agreement allows you or your ex to do with your children. Can they be legally taken out of state or out of the country without the other parent’s permission? If your children wish to go on a trip without either parent, what are the requirements?
Depending on the terms of your custody agreement or Parenting Plan, one parent may be able to make these decisions, or both might need to be involved. If a parent requires the consent of the other parent and fails to get it, this could be used as grounds for legal action.
Need Help With a Washington State Child Custody Matter?
Even after parents have gone their separate ways, with a custody agreement in place, disputes are possible and even likely. If you are unable to resolve child custody matters quickly and amicably, you may need legal assistance.
At AB Law, our experienced Washington family law attorneys will advocate for your parental rights. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to find out how we can help.