Navigating Co-Parenting: Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday

By: Katherine M. Stasiak, Barrister & Solicitor

With March Break upon us, many separated families find it an interesting and sometimes difficult time to navigate co-parenting. We can provide some tips that you can use to apply to your family during March Break, long weekends, or summer holidays, that will hopefully relieve some stress.

Plan Your Parenting Time In Advance

You should know when March Break happens, and you may be likely planning to spend time with your child or children during that time. This is a good opportunity to think ahead about your parenting arrangement to see what arrangements for co-parenting need to be made in advance of March Break. Specifically, will one parent have the kids, or will you be splitting the week? What does the week look like if you are splitting the week? When will you have changeover. If it usually takes place at school, where will it take place over this week? Remember to be as clear and specific as possible in order to avoid any unnecessary stress and conflict for both you and your children. Remember, if you already have a parenting plan in place, and there are no additional considerations for school holidays or March Break, then the regular terms apply. This means that if you are working through the week, you will most likely be responsible for any costs of daycare, camp or activity fees (unless otherwise agreed upon between you and the other party).

Plan Your Travel In Advance

Do you plan on taking the kids on vacation? If so, you will most likely need the consent of the other parent via a signed, and notarized, travel consent. This is a document that provides the travelling parent with the authority to take the child out of the country and generally meets the international travel requirement so that there are no issues when the travelling parent and the child reach the border. This document typically contains information for this specific trip, including flight details, hotel information and contact information. Most often, the non-travelling parent will sign the document and have their signature notarized to ensure its authenticity. A sample travel consent document can be found here on the Government of Canada website:

It is incredibly important to plan your travel with children in advance, since the other parent does have to take additional steps to provide consent. In the very worst case scenarios, if the non-travelling parent is not willing to provide their consent, you may have to resort to bringing an urgent motion for that consent to travel.

Remember the Children – Co-Parenting

School holidays are an important time for children to be children, so it is important to remember that the better both parents work together, the happier your children will be. Co-parenting is always easier when both parents take the time to remember that they love their children and want their children to have the best relationship with both parents as possible.

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