Summer is just around the corner and for many families this means fun travel plans and summer vacations.  But, if you have been through a divorce or are in the process of divorcing now, nothing can throw a wrench in your summer travel plans faster than an uncooperative ex with an ax to grind.  If your ex (or soon-to-be ex) is not the type to put their own sometimes questionable agenda aside for the good of the kids, planning and actually taking a summer vacation with your children can be a source of stress, anxiety, and tension for the entire family.

The most important thing you can do to avoid conflict and confusion that can surround your summer travel plans is to clearly designate your extended summer possession in accordance with your divorce decree and/or temporary orders.  Letting the other parent know that your designated days are off limits can help avoid disruption in your vacation plans and in any activities that you would like to schedule for your kids, like summer camp or swimming lessons.  Make sure that you provide the other parent with written notice of your summer designation, that your dates are clear, and that you send your notice in a manner that you can prove the other side received it later if need me (for example by certified mail or through your attorney).

Another good way to minimize the stress that can surround travel plans is to include provisions regarding passports and notice of international travel in your divorce decree and/or temporary orders.   Setting the procedure for international travel can bring comfort and security to both parents – bringing the traveling parent satisfaction in knowing that their travel plans will not be sabotaged at the last minute and allowing the non-traveling parent to take comfort in the fact that they know their child’s plans, flight numbers, destination, and contact information in case of an emergency.  Clearly establishing the ground rules for who will hold the child’s passport and how important travel documents will be exchanged can help avoid conflict and stress for everyone.

While it will be impossible to avoid every conflict about summer travel, advanced planning, clear divorce decrees or temporary orders, and proper notice to the other parent can go a long way.