On behalf of Morna Challoner of Challoner Law posted in blog on Friday, June 2, 2017.
With the end of the school year perhaps days away, you and your kids are probably excitedly looking forward to vacation plans. Perhaps you anticipate a trip to the beach, camping in the woods or a visit to relatives in another state.
Since your divorce, you likely want to maintain some of the summer traditions that your children have enjoyed, and once school is over, you will have the freedom to make those things happen. However, if you have a court ordered custody arrangement with your former spouse, you may need to stop and consider before you gather the kids and go.
Making summer as painless as possible
Unless your current custody arrangement already provides a schedule for summer activities, you may want to arrange a meeting with your co-parent as soon as possible. Defying a court order to take the kids to the beach or send them off to camp may land you in legal trouble that could jeopardize your custody privileges. If you and your former spouse have a less-than-amicable relationship, there are some options:
Plan your summer schedules through emails or online parenting sites.
Arrange for mediation with a neutral decision maker.
Enlist your attorney to meet with your spouse’s attorney to discuss the issues.
Request a hearing before a judge, and allow the court to determine the summer schedule.
The court will typically decide how much vacation time each of you will have with the children, how much notice you must give each other before taking a trip, and the distance and location of your trips. This last item may be especially important if you have very young children.
Help with modifying custody orders
The most desirable way to deal with child custody conflicts is to talk them out amicably with your co-parent. Having schedules for summer vacation and other holidays built into your original parenting plan may eliminate any cause for dispute when those occasions draw near. However, the ideal of an amicable agreement may not always be possible.
Whether you need assistance with enforcing an existing parenting plan or you are seeking modification of court ordered custody, having legal advice could prove invaluable, especially if you are dealing with an uncooperative co-parent. Consulting with a California attorney is often a prudent step before undertaking something as important as custody modification.