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May 1, 2011

Vacation with your Ex?

Divorce and General Articles

Summer Vacation….an escape from the ordinary, a break or holiday that often means a trip, a retreat or a rest.   Now is a good time to put a little thought into how to manage this time of rejuvenation for yourself and your family.   What you decide to do during this summer holiday period is challenged by finances, work schedules, family composition and your own expectations. 

 A serious consideration is how to manage the summer vacation while you are going through a divorce or are divorced.  There are several factors to consider before taking a vacation with your ex-spouse.  Many couples say family vacations with ex-spouses and kids is a great way to save money and foster good memories for the kids and sometimes even the parents.  Other concerns may be if your ex-spouse has a significant other in his or her life and whether they will be included in the trip. 

Take Bruce Willis for instance, Willis has vacationed with his former wife, Demi Moore, their three daughters, and her current husband, Ashton Kutcher. “It’s hard to understand, but we go on holidays together,” he told Vanity Fair in a 2007 interview. “We still raise our kids together — we still have that bond.”

If you get along with your ex it can be easy to do even if there are significant others in the mix.   Amicable relations aside, there is one caveat – children of divorce often fantasize that their parents will reunite, and vacationing together might feed that. Parents need to be very clear that the trip is a special event, not a precursor to getting back together.  Communicating the desire of both parents just wanting to be with the child is important.  

Regardless of how well you get along with your ex, it is highly recommended to negotiate the ground rules before the trip.  Pre-trip agreement needs to be reached about finance, chores and sleeping arrangements especially when it comes to bringing the new girlfriend/boyfriend along.  

Some divorced or divorcing parents can take the high road and spend a short amount of time together in family style activities for the benefit of the kids.  It may also surprise couples that in doing so, they benefit as well by finding common ground with their exes and thereby reducing latent anxiety and stress.   

Perhaps this type of vacation may not be everyone’s idea of a rejuvenating or restful holiday.  What do you think?  Would you ever consider this type of vacation with your ex?  We would like to hear your thoughts on this.