Traveling With Children Post-Divorce

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Why is travel important?

Travel is sometimes a necessity. People need to travel for work, to visit family but also to have important relaxation time and breaks from the day to day schedule. Studies have shown that compared to other OECD countries Americans get the least paid public holidays and least paid vacation time

However travel can broaden the mind, it can be necessary to de-stress and maintain productivity in the workplace for when you return. Furthermore it is essential in terms of having quality work-free time with your children. Divorce shouldn’t change that time. It is important for bonding and for your child’s development. Family holidays are generally always remembered well into adulthood and for some families they become a rare time when there is enjoyment, indulgence and new exciting experiences for everyone. The lack of set routine, pressure and stress is always a bonus factor.

Never underestimate the importance of planning!

Divorced parents should try and continue giving their children these experiences. In fact usually there are court ordered specific allotted holiday times for each parent, often solidified in a custody agreement or parenting plan. These can take the spontaneity out of planning a trip but at least it adds to the anticipation for the kids! After divorce you will find travelling with your children takes additional planning anyway. You have to respect the sometimes legally binding allotted holiday periods each parent has. You should inform your ex-spouse of the details of your trip and all relevant travel arrangements. This could include expenses, dates, destinations, hotel names, addresses and phone numbers, plus expected methods of communication whilst away. Planning is always productive in terms of trips, it helps anticipate and deal with potential issues whilst managing your time better in order to get the most out of your holiday. The longer and further away the trip the more planning is generally required, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t fun to sometimes slightly wing it though!

Whatever you do you should remember that post-divorce you need to pay even more attention to saving the relevant travel documents in order to avoid any hiccups. It could also be important to save correspondence with your ex pertaining to the trip in the unlikely event that they try to deny that you have confirmed these preparations with them previously. Another factor to consider is where your child’s travel documents are kept. If you have physical custody of your child you may assume the most logical place is in your house. Get it in writing; the last thing you want is an argument over passport access a few hours before your flight!

When travelling with children safety always comes first. You have to consider factors that maybe weren’t high priority for you when you backpacked Asia on your gap year! Now in the likely event that you’ll be the sole adult on the holiday your responsibility is increased. The US government website provides breakdowns on countries by profile; you can get current safety levels, necessary vaccinations and travel advice.

Controlling your innate feeling isn’t easy!

Something I’ve talked about before is the emotional sacrifice necessary to let your child spend the holidays with your ex. It is common to feel the need to interfere in their plans and be aware of every minute detail, whilst simultaneously feeling slight resentment that your ex is getting to have fun with your child without you. Why should they get to have all the fun whilst you’re stuck with the day to day grind, the meal preparations and school runs? Maybe the financial ramifications of divorce have left you unable to take your child on the type of trips your ex can, this is bound to leave a bitter taste in your mouth. However, you have to try and break free from that way of thinking. The trip is for your child and if it’s in their best interests then you should go with it. There are countless potential issues and feelings that will arise when it comes to your child holidaying without you, the best way to tackle these is consider as many as possible. The fewer surprises, the lower your frustration and angst will be.

Summary

Whilst post-divorce there are certain conditions and obstacles that weren’t prevalent before, the bottom line is that this shouldn’t stop you travelling with your child. Travelling can teach them new responsibilities, social skills, tolerance and respect for different cultures whilst strengthening the bond between you both. Travelling and holidays can be important educational opportunities; this importance should not be overlooked or undervalued!

Krishan Smith, author of this article, is the new senior editor at Custody X Change, a custody software specialist company. He’s originally from the UK but now living in Colombia.