The summer months are coming quickly. This means that many families will begin to head out on vacations. If you have a child custody agreement governing what happens with your children, you need to make sure that you are handling things in the proper manner.
Before you head for your destination, make sure that you are thinking about ways that you can minimize the stress, increase your children's enjoyment and keep your ex informed of what is going on.
Share the plans with your ex
Even though you might not be required to share your vacation plans with your ex, it is a good idea to let them know what is going on. This doesn't mean that you have to tell them every detail of the trip. Instead, you should at least give them the dates and destination.
Check your custody agreement
Before you make any reservations, make sure that your plans are within the bounds of the child custody agreement. Some might have stipulations about where you can travel. Others might have notification instructions for letting your ex or the court know the plans. International travel might require you to take additional steps, such as putting up a special bond before your children can leave the country.
Children love to re-live fun moments in their life. Make sure that you are taking steps to help them preserve memories of the vacation. This might mean buying souvenirs and taking pictures. You might also consider writing out an overview of the day or giving the kids something they can do this in (like an album or journal). Additionally, plan for your children to contact your ex during the trip so they can have some communication.
Discuss your plans
Talk to the kids about the plans for the vacation. If they are old enough, let them have a say in what is going to happen. This makes them feel like they are truly a part of the vacation and gives them a chance to experience things that they will enjoy. Letting the kids know the plans before you leave can reduce the apprehension that can come from a schedule change.
Another thing to remember when you are planning a vacation is that this isn't a competition between parents. Instead of trying to out-do your ex, focus on having fun and enjoying the time that you have with your children. For kids, the simplest of activities with a parent can sometimes be the most memorable.