On their own, the terms COVID-19 and divorce suggest negative connotations. Add them to the prospect of ruined vacation plans and you have a depressing combination. You even begin to think that the “best of plans” were the ones never made.
Without question, the coronavirus crisis poses more of a concern than just the physical aspects of the disease. Like most parents, you want what is best for your children and that includes spending some downtime with them. Could be you splurged and planned ahead for a special trip to Disney and all the parks around it.
Your marital separation agreement specifies your vacation time with the kiddies. At the time, your ex had no issues with you taking the children out of state. Of course, the divorce papers were signed before anyone dreamed of a pandemic. Just your luck that Florida keeps reporting new cases of the potentially deadly virus on a daily basis.
Disney or bust? On your own, you might second guess whether those non-refundable tickets are worth the risk. However, when your ex demands you forego the trip, you rationalize the ways you will keep your children safe. After all, it is all about their happiness and kids do not get really sick. At least, that’s what you’ve heard from that so-called expert on one of the cable news station.
However, your ex reminds you of that diseases related to COVID-19 that strike children alone. And, of course the list of healthy people in their thirties and forties who lost their lives as a result of the pandemic. What would your children do if you got sick on vacation?
Before you head out for your scheduled vacation, you may find yourself defending your right to go. The court will decide your case in the same format you use to attend business meetings – by virtual appearance.
Vacation Plans and Separation
When couples divorce and have children, custody and parenting time are written into the divorce papers. Vacation plans fall under this general category. With COVID-19, you may be waiting for the judge to execute the final paperwork. All things considered, you might not have started the process.
Negotiating vacation time with your children sometimes requires outside intervention. Even a trip to the Jersey shore represents undue challenges that make it seem too difficult to handle.
It works two ways. On the one hand, you may want to stop your soon to be ex from taking your children on a vacation you deem unsafe. On the other, it could be that your ex wants to stop you from leaving town.
In both cases, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney. The court may need to make the final decision when it comes to planning vacation absent an agreement between the parents.
When Your Vacation Plans Include International Travel
The United States has all kinds of travel restrictions in place. If you plan to take your children out of the country, your ex may decide to take you to court.
For example, the CDC lists a host of countries where foreign nationals are prohibited from visiting coming into the United States. What happens if your passport is from the United Kingdom and you try to return? You could find that you can’t back into the country.
In any event, the European Union won’t let Americans in right now. Additionally, the borders on both sides of our nation are closed. If you’re making vacation plans, you may want to go to one of the islands. You should also keep in mind that New Jersey requires a quarantine period when you come back from a number of states.
The bottom line is that COVID-19 and divorced or separated parents are a poor mix. You and your ex may have different versions of what represents safe vacation plans.
At the Law Offices of Sam Stoia, we can work on your behalf to come to an agreement. In the alternative, we will be there to advocate for you before the court. Contact us to see how we can help!