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Don't let lack of communication ruin your summer vacation

4 ways to reduce co-parenting stress

No matter what the exact reasons are that led to your decision to divorce, you likely were centrally focused on what was best for your children throughout court proceedings. Many Florida couples say they suffered serious breakdowns in communication during marriage, which wound up causing significant challenges as they navigated the process of divorce. Lack of communication isn't the only issue that sometimes leads to contentious debates regarding child custody, visitation and other important parenting matters, but it's certainly at the top of the list of potential problem-causing situations. 

Now that some time has gone by since your divorce was finalized, you and your children may be looking forward to taking a summer vacation together for the first time since that day. The last thing you need is for angry phone calls or temper-fueled messages opposing your travel itinerary to ruin or interrupt your plans. Holiday fun and special events post divorce are still possible if all parties involved are willing to cooperate.

Ways to keep stress levels low and vacation fun high

Perhaps one of the best ways to avoid vacation problems regarding your former spouse is to cover as many bases as possible ahead of time. The following is a list of tips that may help you avoid conflict and get started building new and lasting memories with your kids:

  1. Get it in writing: There's no reason you can't include specifics regarding vacations and holidays in your court-approved parenting plan. Many parents itemize each holiday, planned vacation (or at least blocks of vacation time) and special events so it's very clear where children are to spend their time throughout the year.
  2. Vacation takes precedence over custody: If one parent is scheduled to have custody during a time when the other parent is scheduled to have vacation time, the latter trumps the former as a priority.
  3. Share information to avoid stress: Letting the other parent know where you are taking your children and what your basic plans are throughout vacation can alleviate worry and show your kids you are willing to cooperate to keep their best interests at heart. It's also courteous to keep lines of communication open between your children and their other parent so they have access to one another at all times.•  
  4. Enlist third party help when needed: If you aren't able to resolve disagreements regarding summer vacation amicably, it often helps to allow another person to speak on your behalf to prevent emotional outbursts and angry exchanges.

It's important to remember that your children love both their parents. Most kids fare best after divorce when parents are able to maintain civil relationships for their sakes. You shouldn't have to forsake your parental rights to do so, however. Unless expressly prohibited by the court, you are free to enjoy travel time with your children. Unfortunately, some people find the only way to solve their child custody disagreements is to return to court.

In such cases, it's often best to allow an experienced family law attorney to litigate the issue. Addressing a problem sooner than later may pave the way toward many happy summer vacations to come.

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