Spring break is an opportunity to get away for a few days or take a special trip. The situation can be complicated for divorced parents with children as arrangements have to be made ahead of time. Vacations can be an important aspect of a parent’s life and should then be incorporated into child custody negotiations to ensure there are no problems in the future. There could be vacations that are more important to one parent than others, or they both might have interest in the same one. It is important for both parents to be open and flexible with each other about their plans.
Spring break might be important to one family member because it is the time of year they take a particular trip, such as visiting family or going to a special place. It could be a long-standing tradition that they wish to continue with their child. If the vacation is important, it is best to include it as part of a child custody agreement.
Not establishing an agreement beforehand could lead to complications in the future. The arrangement could be that the child spends half a week with one parent before moving to the next one. If one of the parents wants to go away for an entire week, the arrangement might not work for the schedule. Planning it out ahead of time will reduce potential complications.
What are Spring Break Solutions?
There are instances where both parents have an interest in spending time with their children during the week off, and spring break is the prime opportunity to do so. When this happens, they will need to work together to reach an acceptable solution. There are four possible options to satisfy everyone:
- Split spring break in half. This is the least complicated solution. One parent will have custody for the first half of the break, and the other will have it for the second half. This ensures both sides have equal time. The problem is it might make trips more difficult.
- Alternate spring break. In this scenario, the parents alternate custody for spring break each year. One parent will have custody in the even numbered years, and the other will have it in the odd numbered years. This allows the child to go on trips for the week with the parent who has custody.
- Take a different week. If a parent does not want to wait a full year for that week, they could plan to have custody on a different week or a different holiday, such as summer vacation. One parent would have custody for spring break, and the other parent would have the child the other week.
- Incorporate spring break into the holiday schedule. Not all families regard spring break the same way. It may be just another week off for them, and they see no reason to treat spring break any differently than other holidays.
It is important for the parents to remain flexible and open to communication. None of the scenarios need to be permanent and could alternate if a special event were to take place during spring break or if a parent’s plans change. Both sides working with each other will make for a more pleasant experience.
Does it Violate My Custody Agreement if I Take My Child Out of State?
Depending on the language that is in a custody agreement, there should not be a problem if one parent wishes to bring a child out of state. Communication is a key element to this. The parent who wishes to travel should inform the other parent well in advance, so they can voice their concerns about the pending trip. Even if out-of-state travel is permitted under the custody agreement, the lines of communication should always remain open.
When traveling, the parent should allow time so the child can contact the other parent to maintain that connection even though they are apart. The parent who is traveling should also plan any trip around the days that might be particularly special to their ex-spouse, such as the birthday of a close relative or other event.
How Important is it to Abide by the Custody Agreement?
Regardless of the verbal or written agreement the parents made with each other regarding spring break, they should not violate the child custody agreement. Doing so could result in severe ramifications for that parent and have indirect negative consequences for the child. Maryland has specific consequences for a parent who fails to return a child under 16 years old to the other parent.
When a violation occurs, it is the responsibility of the offending parent to return the child as soon as possible. If the parent remains in the state, the incident will be classified as a misdemeanor. The parent could face a fine of $25 or up to 30 days in jail. If the parent takes the child out of state, then the courts will classify the incident as a felony, which increases the punishments. The abducting parent could face a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail.
What Should I Tell My Ex-Spouse About My Trip?
The more communication is always the best when a parent decides they are going to travel with a child. Providing details keeps the other parent well-informed about where their child is and what they are doing. The details that a traveling parent should tell the other includes:
- The activities they will engage in while away.
- When they will leave and when they will return.
- The transportation method used to travel.
- Where they will be staying including an address and contact information.
- If they will be traveling alone or with someone.
Ultimately, if both sides work together, all parties will benefit. Parents need to consider each other’s schedules as well as the school schedule of the child. Working together and being open with each other will allow for a smooth process and assure that everyone can enjoy their spring break. If there needs to be post-divorce modifications, a lawyer can help.
Baltimore Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Incorporate Travel Plans into Custody Agreements
If you are having a difficult time working with your ex-spouse to incorporate your travel plans into your child custody agreement, a Baltimore child custody lawyer at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC can help. We have years of experience representing clients in divorce agreements and will represent you in negotiations with your ex-spouse. Call us at 443-589-0150 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.