California divorce custody planning is never easy, but during the holidays and school breaks it can be increasingly difficult with unexpected schedule changes, taking time off work, making travel plans, etc.
If you have recently separated or divorced, you know that life gets a lot more complicated with two households. West Coast Family Mediation Center has helped countless clients with realistic and reasonable California divorce custody planning for the holidays. We would love to share some simple steps you can follow to make this task a bit less overwhelming.
Create a Plan and Communicate
Part of the frustration that comes with planning separate vacations with your kids for many newly divorced parents is that they no longer have the other parent around to help. In your California divorce custody planning, there is much to consider when traveling with children (especially younger children), and having two people to divide up that workload is far easier. However, just like everything else in life, this will get easier as the years go by. Until then, here are some tips to get you through the first few trips!
- Begin planning well in advance, and as soon as plans are set, share the details with your co-parent so they can incorporate the dates into their calendar as well.
- Discuss potential trip ideas with your kids (if age appropriate) and get their feedback as to anything special they would like to do. Always remember, that quality time is more important than quantity of time. Start a new tradition – one you can come back to every other year.
- Discuss potential trip ideas with your co-parent. This helps to ensure there is not something you are planning that you agreed not to do (i.e., take the kids out of the country before a certain age). Better to be reminded of this before you spend money on airfare you can’t get back. If you do plan to head out of the country, check your passport early. No need to spend unnecessary extra money on an expedited passport! If anything changes, make sure to notify the other parent well ahead of time so they can plan accordingly. Don’t Forget Your Consent to Travel Letter! If you travel with your children out of the country, don’t forget to obtain a letter from your co-parent that states their permission for you to travel with the children, out of state or country, without her or him.
- Respect Guidelines. If you have agreed to 30-day notice prior to taking vacations, stick to that rule. The more you adhere to the boundaries you agreed to, the more you will build trust with your co-parent. Once a few years have gone by and any lost trust has been re-established, it is ok to discuss being more flexible. In the beginning, it is always a good rule of thumb to follow the guidelines and respect the agreements you took the time to make.
Revel in the Success of Your California Divorce Custody Planning
If this is your first, (or second or third) time headed out with your kids on your own, post-separation and without your co-parent, once you are on the road (or in the sky, or on the water), it’s time to let go. Go with the flow. If things don’t turn out exactly as you planned, that’s okay! The trip isn’t about perfection, it is about you and your kids having some quality time away from the stressors of everyday life! Take it all in. This is what is important.
We ask that you share this information with loved ones, so they can also understand the benefits that our process provides. Schedule a free consultation today!