You’ve likely seen stories of stars, royals and other wealthy, famous people whose “conscious uncoupling” (AKA divorce) was so mature and civilized that they continue to vacation together with their children as well as their current spouses. You probably assume they can do that because they’re staying on a friend’s island or an Italian villa where the exes only see each other to pose for Instagram photos.
The fact is that any divorced couple with an amicable relationship and a desire to share in the joy of a family vacation while their kids are still young can do it. However, you need to give it some thought and planning. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Don’t give your kids false hope
When you broach the subject with your kids, make sure they don’t think you’re getting back together – especially if your divorce isn’t final. While you don’t want to spend the vacation fighting, don’t send mixed signals to your kids (even if you aren’t sure yourself what the future holds).
Allow plenty of space for each of you
Nothing can ruin an amicable divorce like being stuck in a hotel suite with your ex. It’s best to rent a vacation home where you can put some space between you.
Separate bedrooms are crucial for a number of reasons, including the one noted above. You can still have family gatherings around the kitchen table or pool. If you’re sharing a home, be prepared to share the responsibilities so you don’t end up fighting over whose turn it is to cook or load the dishwasher.
Plan alone time
Take advantage of being able to share parenting duties, especially if you have young children. Make sure you can each have some time to yourself. It also helps to decide what activities you’d both like to do with your kids (like a day-long bike trek), so neither of you feels left out.
Decide how expenses will be split
Work out how you’ll divide the cost for accommodation, travel, food, entertainment, events and souvenirs ahead of time. This can help prevent needless quarrels over restaurant tabs and more.
If you and your co-parent plan to take a summer or other family vacation together every year while your kids are still at home, make sure this is included in your custody agreement. Having legal guidance can help you do this.