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Summer vacation is typically synonymous with relaxing, slowing down and enjoying more time as a family. However, as relaxing as we might want summer to be, it often takes some work to make it so — especially if you are a parent who shares custody of your children.

For instance, you might have one or more family vacations planned with your kids. While you want these trips to be fun and restful, you should take some extra steps to achieve this goal. This is especially true if you want to avoid any legal battles or ugly fallout with the other parent upon your return. Below, we discuss some important tips to make summer traveling easier if you are a parent sharing custody.

  1. Make sure you have permission to take the children. Your parenting plan might restrict traveling certain distances or to certain places. Be sure you review this and other relevant paperwork to ensure you have the right to take your children outside the state or country.
  2. Be clear about your plans. Telling the other parent about your plans and giving him or her a rough idea of your itinerary can alleviate many concerns. Without sharing this type of information, a parent’s fear and stress can lead to legal battles and contentious fights.
  3. Consider easing communication restrictions between your children and the other parent. This can be especially helpful if children will be with one parent longer than usual, or if a child is anxious about traveling. Allowing him or her to talk to the other parent more often (but within reason) can make everyone feel calmer.
  4. Prepare — and pack — all the necessary documents. Depending on where you are going, how long you will be gone and how you will be traveling, it can be crucial to have paperwork on hand to show you have permission and authority to be traveling with your child. This can include his or her passport, a letter from the other parent as well as a copy of your parenting agreement.

With this type of preparation, you can be in a better position to have a safe, fun and conflict-free vacation.