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Does the Coronavirus impact my Spring Break Parenting Time?

Spring Break has been written in bold letters across your 2020 calendar for months. You’ve been looking forward to taking your children on the cultural excursion of a lifetime this Spring Break to Italy and you’ve been counting down the days one at a time. Your dreams have been filled with boat rides on Lake Como, a trip to the Coliseum in Rome, and a pasta cooking class in Bologna. But then it happened . . . COVID-19 spread from Hubei Province to Italy and your ex-spouse’s name pops up on your Caller ID. You let it go to voicemail but listen to the dreaded voicemail, “Look, I know it is your Spring Break this year and I approved, but circumstances have changed so I am no longer on board with you taking the kids to Italy with this coronavirus outbreak. You need to cancel.” So what can you do?

When divorced parents share custody, traveling vacations can be a contentious issue. The holiday visitation schedule usually takes precedence over the regular parenting schedule, so parents often plan for spring break and holiday vacations many weeks or months in advance. Unfortunately, requests for a deviation from vacation parenting time schedules sometimes occur because of circumstances beyond either parent’s control.

If you and your ex are amicable, you can try to work out a fair vacation alternative. Perhaps you can agree to switch vacation weeks this year and delay your trip to Italy until summer when (hopefully) COVID-19 is under control. Or maybe you just agree that sunny Palm Beach is looking pretty good this March and there is always Spring Break 2022. Remember, whether it is a coronavirus concern in Italy this year or another threat next year, co-parents should always consider the best interests of your children whose health and safety should come first.

But what if you are the parent leaving the voicemail and your ex returns your call only to tell you that they are adamant about flying to Italy despite the outbreak? If you’re dealing with a difficult co-parent and believe coronavirus is an issue for you this spring break, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible to determine whether you have the right to object to travel and whether emergent court intervention may be necessary.

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