Tips for Traveling with Your Co-Parent, New Spouses/Partners and Children
Challenging but Not Impossible
Sometimes after separation or divorce you may want to take a trip with your children that includes both parents, together with their new spouses or partners. When that happens the importance of having both parents present must supersede the difficulties you may experience spending extended time with your ex and their new spouse or partner.
There are a few tips that may make this kind of travel easier and increase your chances of having a trip without conflict:
First, keep it short. Three days is usually enough time to make some warm family memories while giving you a better chance to stay on your "good enough under the circumstances" (if not best) behavior.
Second, adjust your expectations. You may find the need to take a lot of deep breaths and maybe even a “time out”. You might need to swallow your words and limit reactions that you would normally express if you were not with the children. You need to stick to your resolve not to have the children experience any conflict between the adults.
Third, prepare for past feelings and thoughts to resurface. You may have thought you had overcome some painful feelings and moved past them, but they may resurface here again. Take a walk, take a minute.
Fourth, be respectful. If new spouses or partners join the trip, try to be respectful of the other parent and your past relationship. Physical affection or intimate comments can hurt without your knowledge. Expect the same respect from the other parent.
Fifth, set clear ground rules on how expenses will be shared. Before you leave, decide on what technology will help the group; such as Split Wise for expenses (which can convert foreign currency) and Whats App for group texts. Again, the goal is to not have what could be sensitive conversations in front of the children.
Last, check in with the children. Your children have two parents and they deserve to love you both and enjoy time with you without stress and conflict. And if you are successful in accomplishing that, they may just thank you for the all-in family time.
Written by Catherine Canade´, Esq.