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Taking a vacation from custody disputes

With summer break fast approaching, you may be anticipating the dispute that will likely arise when you and your ex-spouse broach the subject of taking the kids on vacation. Perhaps your spouse wants to take the children out of state to visit relatives, and you are reluctant to have the young ones so far away for so long.

If you and your spouse did not work out these details in your custody agreement at the time of your divorce, you may consider figuring out a way to avoid the same struggle summer after summer.

Options for saving summer

One way to settle the matter is to request a hearing before a judge and allow the court to make the decision for you. After examining the circumstances, a judge will likely rule on the following:

  • How much time each of you will have for vacationing with the kids
  • How much notice you need to give each other before going on vacation
  • Where you may to take the children, including limiting the distance you can travel

If it seems distasteful and invasive to have a judge make these intimate decisions for you, you may want to take steps to resolve the issues on your own. For example, you may set up a vacation schedule and present it to your ex-spouse for his or her approval. You and your co-parent may be able to find enough common ground to make the plans together so that disagreements and court dates don't ruin everyone's summer.

Having such a meeting of the minds may be just a bit too idealistic. If this is the case, you may wish to involve a neutral mediator to help the two of you reach a reasonable compromise.

Seeking legal advice is not a last resort

If you and your former spouse are not able to come to an arrangement amicably, you may have to allow the courts to decide for you. However, family advocates recommend that you try to work things out well in advance in case a court hearing is necessary. You certainly don't want to have to put your vacation plans on hold while you wait for a date to see the judge.

Facing child custody issues can be a nightmare, and summer holidays often bring opportunities for conflict between divorced parents. If you anticipate a battle over custody arrangements this summer, you may wish to contact an attorney for advice and guidance. A dedicated Minnesota family law attorney will represent your interests if it is necessary to seek a legally binding custody schedule for summer.

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