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How Divorce Decisions Today Impact Tomorrow’s Summer Vacations

Son holding mother's hand in the park.

Summertime should be a wonderful time to go on vacation and make lasting memories with your children. However, sometimes, summer vacation plans can be more complicated when they involve divorced parents who share custody of their children.

Fortunately, these decisions usually go smoothly, especially when parents consider child custody issues.

So, what issues should parents consider when it comes to child custody and vacation plans? What options are available to parents if they cannot agree on their children’s summer vacation time? Can one parent stop the other from taking a child on vacation?

Here’s what you should know.

Can different types of divorces impact future vacation plans?

As with many legal issues involving divorce in West Virginia, there’s no simple answer to this question. However, parents should always carefully consider every legal issue – including their children’s future vacation arrangements – as part of any divorce proceedings.

In general, there are two types of divorces in West Virginia:

  • No-fault divorce – This type of divorce involves both spouses agreeing there are irreconcilable differences without either spouse saying the other is responsible for the end of the marriage.
  • Fault-based divorce – This type of divorce involves one spouse claiming the other spouse is to blame for the end of the marriage.

Depending on which type of divorce you and your spouse decide to pursue, it could potentially impact future vacation plans for children. This is especially true if you are the spouse being blamed for the end of the marriage. This is why you should talk with a West Virginia divorce lawyer about child custody issues as early as possible during any divorce proceeding.

Basic shared parenting vs. extending shared parenting – impact on vacations

In terms of child custody, there are often two common types of arrangements in West Virginia:

  • Basic shared parenting arrangement – One parent keeps the child overnight for less than 35 percent of the year, meaning the children spend the majority of the year with the other parent.
  • Extended shared parenting – Both parents keep the child overnight for 35 percent of the year or more. Often, in this scenario, parents equally share custody of the children 50 percent of the time.

As a result, if you have already spent more time this year than you agreed to as part of your current child custody agreement, you might not be able to spend all or some of your summer vacation time with your child. Don’t simply assume you can take your child on vacation this summer. Make sure you thoroughly understand your child custody agreement. And if you have any questions, talk to a child custody attorney.

Can an ex-spouse stop a child from going on vacation?

The short answer? Yes, in some cases. For example, if your summer vacation dates conflict with your child’s custody schedule agreement with your former spouse, they can deny your request to take your child on vacation.

In addition, many divorce agreements spell out when and where a child will spend their summer vacation time after the divorce. Changing these legally binding agreements often requires approval from the other spouse and sometimes a family court judge.

What child custody issues should parents consider when planning a vacation?

There are many legal issues divorced parents should consider when planning a summer vacation with children whose parents share custody of them, including:

  • Do your summer vacation plans conflict with your current child custody agreement?
  • Where are you planning to take your child on vacation? Out of state or out of the country? And if so, do your vacation plans violate your current custody agreement?
  • What activities are you planning to do with your child on vacation? In some cases, your former spouse may object to certain activities that they consider dangerous or inappropriate.

Never assume anything when dealing with legally binding child custody agreements. Always carefully consider the legal ramifications of your vacation choices.

What are my options if my ex-spouse interferes with my child’s summer vacation plans?

In general, the best thing to do in any situation involving a child custody disagreement between two parents is to talk to an attorney. Your lawyer can review the details of your specific case and explain all the available legal options.

A child custody attorney at Klie Law Offices can help you every step of the way. We thoroughly understand West Virginia’s child custody laws. That’s because we have years of experience helping people file for divorce and navigate all the issues that often arise during such legal proceedings, including child custody.

Partner with a law firm that will work to understand your goals and help you achieve them. Contact us and schedule an appointment with a West Virginia divorce lawyer. Our law firm has offices in Buckhannon and Parkersburg, West Virginia.

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