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Summer vacation, child custody and avoiding fights with your ex

Summer vacation is a time to kick back, relax and spend some quality time with your family. If you're divorced, you know that planning a vacation with your child requires extra time and attention.

With so many details to consider, it's imperative to implement a plan of action that will help you avoid fights with your ex-spouse. If you fail to plan properly -- say, by planning a vacation without looping in the other parent -- don't be surprised if you find yourself in the middle of an argument.

Vacation planning practicals

Here are several tips you can follow if you want to minimize stress and reduce the potential for conflict:

  • Set a vacation schedule in advance: You don't want to spring this on your ex-spouse at the last minute, so do your best to schedule your trip as far in advance as possible. Taking this one step further, share the schedule with the other parent so he or she knows exactly what to expect.
  • Read your child custody agreement: There may be language in the agreement that will require you to modify your plans. For example, if you are not permitted to travel out of the country with your child, you will have to cross some potential destinations off your list.
  • Keep in touch leading up to the trip: If anything changes, for example, you'll want to let the other parent know as soon as possible. Staying in touch allows you to stay on the same page.
  • Have a communication plan: You want to make sure your child is able to stay in touch with the other parent during the trip. There are many options, with your child's age playing the biggest role in your approach. With phone calls, instant messaging, FaceTime, text messages and other possibilities available, you can have a communication plan that works for everyone.

You don't want to ruin your summer vacation with a custody fight. Not only will this take away from your good time, but it could also make your child's experience unpleasant.

If you have ongoing problems with your ex

With knowledge of what you can and can't do, it's much easier to avoid trouble and to plan a trip that you and your child will always remember. If your child's other parent is making life difficult for you, such as by attempting to block your vacation, it's time to learn more about your legal rights.

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