Divorce & Vacation Custody
The unofficial start to summer is almost here. Teenagers are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. Flights are resuming, albeit expensively. Summer vacation is nearly here. That means summer vacation plans begin for families across the United States. COVID-19 is not over yet, and millions of Americans are fully vaccinated. But is it truly safe to go on a long-distance vacation with children this summer? What if divorced parents cannot agree about vacation custody?
COVID-19 & Summer Plans
Planning a summer vacation is supposed to be fun and relaxing. Checking on the rules for quarantining, obtaining a rapid antigen test, ensuring no one has tested positive, and wearing a mask outdoors can be trying. We also don’t know when vaccines will be approved for younger children and toddlers. Cases are spiking in young adults and teenagers, and multiple variants that the vaccine might not cover are spreading throughout the U.S. Despite the fact that vaccines are increasing, public health officials are still cautioning parents to avoid large gatherings unless all members are vaccinated. It can be difficult weighing the risk of letting a child attend a simple birthday party because children are not vaccinated, and it is still important to maintain social distance. Many states still require a negative antibody test or a mandatory quarantine period for out of state visitors. Parents must decide if a cross country visit to meet relatives or visit an amusement park outweighs the risks of possibly contracting COVID-19 or observing a mandatory quarantine with kids in tow.
Modifying Summer Plans
Given public health concerns, how do co-parents navigate summer vacation plans if they don’t agree? If one parent refuses to get vaccinated, is it safe for the other parent to let shared children travel with that unvaccinated parent? What about that cross-country road trip or long flight your ex is talking about? If you and your co-parent do not agree about your child’s summer plans, and what is and is not safe given the pandemic, you might need to go back to the drawing board and examine the parenting plan or parenting agreement you established during divorce. While no legal agreement could have predicted COVID-19, many parenting plans contain provisions regarding summer custody. Some parents choose two or three consecutive weekends in one month, which is different from the usual split week arrangement. Because school is not in session, parents are usually flexible, but should make plans as early as possible to give the other parent adequate notice.
Considering that children cannot be vaccinated, it might be smart to plan an in-state vacation. This limits a quarantine period, minimizes travel difficulties and might be a good compromise if co-parents cannot agree. However, if your ex is threatening to travel with your shared children internationally or you are concerned for your children’s safety, you need to contact our attorneys at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. We can help you negotiate with your ex or obtain an emergency court hearing if no compromise can be reached or safety concerns abound.
Let Us Help You Today
If you and your ex cannot come to an agreement regarding summer custody, vacation plans, or COVID-19 protocol, contact our Tampa family attorneys at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. Because children under 12 are not eligible for vaccination yet, it is reasonable to modify summer vacation plans or remain in sunny Florida. It is also wise to postpone air travel, and most importantly to adhere to the parenting plan you and your ex agreed to during divorce. Most importantly, both parties need to notify the other before travelling with shared children out of the state. If you need help communicating effectively with an ex or need assistance with a custody modification, call us for assistance. With offices located in Tampa, we serve clients throughout Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. Schedule a consultation today.