For parents who are divorced, child custody can be a contentious issue. Especially during summer vacation and during the holidays when parents want to take trips, the issue of child custody can be very stressful. If you’re a parent in Massachusetts who is divorced and has questions about child custody and vacation, it’s best to consult with an experienced family law attorney. Here’s an overview of what you should know about custody and vacations–

Step 1: Refer to Your Parenting Plan First

The very first thing that you should consider if you want to take a vacation with your child, or if your spouse is planning a vacation with your child, is your parenting plan. At the time that parents divorce, they are required to create a parenting plan that addresses child custody and visitation, including vacation time. Your parenting plan should have details about when each parent can take a vacation with the child.

If the parenting plan does not contain such details, or if you want to take a trip that is outside of the scheduled plan, go on to step two. 

Step 2: Talk to the Other Parent

The second thing that you should do is to talk to your child’s other parent after reviewing your parenting plan. Talking to your former spouse shows that you respect them and want to reach an agreement together that works for everyone. As you enter this conversation, be sure to prioritize remaining calm and being willing to compromise. This is especially true if you’re asking for something that isn’t addressed in, or in accordance with, your parenting plan.

Often, by simply talking to your ex, you can come to an agreement about taking a vacation. Developing good communication skills can make a big difference. 

Step 3: Get a Lawyer if Necessary

Most of the time, a parent’s right to take a vacation with their child will be addressed in a parenting plan. Even when it’s not, though, parents are often able to reach an agreement that allows both parents to get what they want. 

In some cases, however, relationships are so contentious that parents have a difficult time working together to reach an agreement. When this is the case, working with a lawyer who can guide you through mediation or negotiation–or even litigation in some cases–may be necessary. 

Call the Law Office of Heather M. Ward Today

At the Law Office of Heather M. Ward, we know that vacation planning when you’re sharing custody can be very difficult. When you call our experienced child custody attorney, you can count on high-quality and aggressive representation. Whether you need help modifying a custody agreement or enforcing an agreement that already exists, Heather M. Ward can serve you. To schedule a consultation, please call our law firm directly at (617) 903-8955 or send us a message online telling us more about your legal needs.