Is your parenting plan ready for spring break and special events?

It is easy for some couples to agree on the basic division of parenting time for their parenting plan. For example, you may have always had the rule in mind to divide custody as evenly as possible if the two of you ever separate.

Depending on the age of your children, you may need to exchange custody multiple times a week, or you might be able to alternate weeks between households. Older children can usually better handle longer separations from either parent, while younger children may need more frequent exchanges to maintain their bond with both parents.

It is quite common for parents to disagree about how to handle sharing custody on special days in particular. Spring break, holidays and vacations from school can all be times when both parents would like to be with the children. How do you address spring break and other special events in your parenting plan?

Many parents share or alternate special days

If both of you would like a chance to take the kids on trips or bond with them during their time off from school, you might agree to an alternating schedule where the children spend spring break with one parent one year and then with the other parents the next.

You could also agree to divide the break in half, with them spending the first weekend and the early part of the week with one parent and then the remainder of the week and the following weekend with the other. Sometimes, a parent’s work schedule will make taking the kids for spring break and other holidays difficult. They may need to work, which means that the other parents will have the children during the break most years.

In some families where the parents live a significant distance apart or career obligations leave one parent with substantially less time with the children than the other, the family might arrange for the parent with less time to spend spring break and a portion of their other vacations with the parent every year. You and your co-parent will need to honestly reflect on your schedules and the children’s preferences to create a solution that truly works for your family.

You need to address travel in your parenting plan, too

In addition to talking about how you will share spring break and other vacations from school, you may also need to impose a few limitations on your travel choices. Specifically, sometimes parents need to have rules in place to address international or out-of-state travel, especially if there are concerns about parental kidnapping. Requiring advanced notice before your children travel internationally or out of state can help ensure you know where they are at all times, even when they are with their other parent.

Addressing the big concerns can complicate how you share time with your children will reduce the need for modifications later in your co-parenting relationship.