by R. Ortiz

Summer is that magical time in a child’s life when there is no school. For divorced dads, it usually means a switch in the child custody plan.

Planning family vacations and other key dates in your child’s summer lead to many questions such as when can we go on vacation, is there a maximum amount of days the kids can be gone, and are there restrictions on where we can go?

You’ll want to refer to your parenting plan as every single plan is written differently in terms of summer vacation and travel plans.

Some parenting plans retain the same custody schedule, but each parent can request a extended period of time each summer for vacation, usually two weeks. Typically, you’ll need to give your ex at least one month notice of your plans, though I would recommend calling the other parent prior to setting your vacation dates.

Other common parenting plans include the week on/week off schedule that usually allows each parent to take two weeks for a continuous vacation. For those divorced dads who live thousands of miles away from their children, out-of-town parenting plans enable the children to spend most of the summer with those dads who don’t get to see their kids as much. It’s hard having your kids grow up when you can’t be around them as much as you used to during your marriage, but the good news is as your child gets older courts are more willing to grant the non-custodial parents more summer time.

Divorced dads always want to know how far they can take the kids on their family vacation. Thinking of taking the kids out of the northeast to sunny Key West? Usually that’s fine so long as you follow the language of your parenting plan, which often will require you to provide a detailed itinerary and contact information. In some cases, you will need the other parent to sign specific paperwork detailing your plans, especially if you want to take the child out of the country. If none of those conditions are outlined in your parenting plan, then you can take your children anywhere.

Also remember that because your child is out of school, those exchange points and times you’ve become accustomed to have most likely changed thanks to the summer schedule.

The most important thing to remember about the summer schedule is that this is your time with the children. Unless you previously agreed with the other parent to both be part of a particular summer activity, this is your time to do what you’ve always wanted to do with your kids. Have you always wanted to show them your old college campus? Maybe your kids are fascinated with the highway signs touting the World’s Largest Ketchup Bottle. Whatever it is, relish your summer time with your kids.

Just be sure to check your parenting plan first.

The attorneys of Cordell & Cordell provide essential divorce information, resources and advice about alimony, child support and child custody for men and fathers at any stage of divorce. Visit for more information.

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