You want to take your kids on a Spring Break trip. This seems simple enough, and thousands of other parents will be doing the same. Here’s the catch: You’re divorced and you share custody with your ex. Do you need to tell them about your plans?
What does your custody arrangement say?
First and foremost, just consider the custody arrangement you have and any specific provisions that it provides. If it says that you must tell your ex, then you need to do so. That said, this is not generally legally required, so you may not need to do so if your agreement says nothing about it.
Is it interference?
The next thing to think about is whether or not it is interference. Remember that your ex also has custody rights. If you are going to be gone so long that they lose time with the children, that could constitute interference. Your ex may even allege that you “abducted” the children, when you were just having a fun trip together.
If there is a scheduling conflict, that doesn’t mean you can’t go. It just means you may want to talk with your ex in advance and clear it with them so that they’re expecting it.
The children’s best interests
One final thing to consider is that it is generally best if both parents know what is happening with the children at any given time. It may be in their best interests for you to run it by your ex, even if you’re not legally required to do so. This way, if there’s an emergency — you get into a car accident, a flight gets canceled, a child gets sick, etc. — you are all on the same page.
Breaking down your options and avoiding mistakes
You don’t want to make any custody mistakes. Be sure you are well aware of both your legal rights and your obligations. If you get into a dispute with your ex regarding any of these points, you may also need to know what legal steps you can take.