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Can you still take your kids on vacation when you share custody?

Shared custody or co-parenting changes the relationship with your children. For starters, you likely no longer cohabitate with them every day. You may go a week or longer between visits.

If you and your ex can’t agree to cooperative parenting, you may have to divide holidays and other special events, meaning that you are only present for 50% of the special occasion in your child’s life.

Especially for parents who have less time with their children, catching up on all of that missed time together during a family vacation might seem like a great idea. Does shared custody mean that you can’t take your kids on a trip?

Your custody order may place limitations on your travel

Before you book a hotel or buy plane tickets for an exciting trip, you need to make sure you can travel with the children. It is common for custody orders or parenting plans to restrict parental travel with the children after a divorce. Your order might say you can’t leave the state or the country. Understanding of limitations on your parenting time will help determine what kind of vacation is feasible.

You may need to switch schedules up to make a trip work

If you have selected a vacation destination that doesn’t violate the limits in your parenting plan, you still need to think about the duration of your trip. The longer you want to go, the more likely it is that you and your ex will need to negotiate to move or switch visitation times.

Ideally, your ex will cooperate with so that you and the children can enjoy some bonding time. However, if your ex refuses to cooperate, you may need to go to the courts for a modification that allows you to take your trip.

The courts can authorize activity outside of the current parenting plan

While there may be strict limitations on how long you can have the children or how far you can travel, the courts may agree to a one-time deviation from those rules.

Provided that you can show that this modification will be in the best interests of the children, you may be able to ask for permission to travel or to change the scheduled parenting time to accommodate the trip.

Understanding how shared custody after divorce limits travel opportunities with your children is the first step toward planning a great post-divorce vacation.