July 16, 2018
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Summer Vacation Advice For Separated And Divorced Parents

David V. Diggs
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June 27, 2018

It is the most wonderful time of year for schoolchildren. School is out, area pools and beaches are crowded, and children are whiling away the summer hours. However, this carefree time can bring stress for separated and divorced parents.

Having represented thousands of parents through the divorce process, I am constantly trying to craft a workable agreement that strikes the right balance between the need for detail and precision in parenting arrangements, while still providing a level of flexibility and cooperative spirit necessary to address most situations that arise.

For example, the most cooperative of divorced parents may be able to work out the details of an agreement that provides that each will have two weeks of vacation during the summer. Of course, even these cooperative divorced parents should communicate regularly and openly, providing the details of the travel, air flight number, hotel, dates, etc. For extended travel, parents should be able to cooperate to ensure regular Skype or FaceTime contact with the at-home parent. Of course, this contact should not be disruptive and intrusive.

Other parents may require more specificity in their agreement; perhaps they could set a deadline of April 1, whereby the parents will confer and discuss dates for vacation. In alternating years, each parent will have the right to select dates first, with the other parent selecting second.

Camps and the cost thereof may be addressed in an agreement. Most working parents rely upon camps so that they may work through the summer school recess. Of course, camps should be discussed and agreed upon by parents. The costs are most often divided proportionately between the parents. These costs may also be factored into the child support calculation.

International travel requires a particular level of cooperation. Passports must be ordered in sufficient time to allow for travel. An agreement between divorced parents may state which parent will maintain possession of the passports and how those will be handed over to the other parent, who may be travelling internationally. The State Department requires a consent form from the non-traveling parent and this should be secured in advance of any planned vacations beyond the U.S.

Children should not be used as intermediaries and messengers between their divorced or separated parents. Discussions about summer arrangements should be out of the children’s earshot. Parents should endeavor to present a united front so that they may let their children know jointly where they will be going this summer with both parents.

A well-drafted agreement or court order may provide for certain penalties in the event of a violation of its terms. For example, if a parent unjustifiably refuses to allow travel, that parent may be responsible for the other parent’s attorneys’ fees in enforcing the terms of an agreement or divorce order.

When a parent violates the terms of an agreement or court order, you have the right to enforce those terms. Access, parenting time and summer vacations are but a few of the topics that arise between divorced or separated parents. If you have questions about these and related topics, consult an attorney who is familiar with this area of the law and who will assist you in making informed decisions.

For more information, contact David Diggs at the Law Office of David V. Diggs, LLC, located at 8684 Veterans Highway, Suite 204, in Millersville, MD 21108. He can be reached at 410-244-1189 or by email at david@diggslaw.com.


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