When you were still married, traveling with the kids was no big deal. You and your spouse simply organized the trip, put the kids in the car and went where you pleased.
It's not quite that easy once you're divorced. Suddenly, every vacation you want to take with the kids has to be balanced against a number of issues -- some legal and some not.
Here are some things you need to consider before you approach your co-parent about your vacation plans:
1. Your custody and visitation agreement
If your vacation fits neatly into your existing custody and visitation schedule, that's great. However, it doesn't always work out that way.
If your co-parent is scheduled to have the kids when your intended vacation is supposed to take place, you'll need to try to negotiate an agreement for the time. You can't simply violate the agreement because you have plans.
2. Your co-parent's financial position
If you happen to be more financially comfortable than your ex is, announcing plans to take the kids on a grand vacation with all sorts of thrills is probably going to sting a bit. Your ex may be upset that they can't offer the kids something similar.
While you can't (or shouldn't) hide where you're going, try to be sensitive about the situation. Don't brag. Discuss your plans as tactfully as possible.
3. The potential emotional problems for everyone
A trip to Disneyland might sound great to you -- but your kids may not feel so thrilled when they realize that their other parent won't be there with them.
Make sure that you make some time for your co-parent and the kids to chat via phone or video call so that they can share their experiences and ease any jitters they're feeling from being so far apart.
If you're at an impasse over a custody agreement that seems inflexible and unworkable, a modification of the custody order might be appropriate.