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Do weekdays or weekends matter it comes to summer vacations?

Atlanta, GA |

Our parenting plan allows us each a 7-day summer vacation. My ex took his trip over three of my normal weekdays. My trip would fall over two of his weekend days. Our plan does not specify weekdays/weekends. I even offered to allow him to make up the time--although I don't think I had to. Now he's saying if we go, he'll call the police and have me arrested for kidnapping. I've been overly fair allowing him to see the kids during my time but he has never taken advantage of it. I've even split my weekend after he took another vacation so he could see the kids. They are terrified the police will show up on our vacation.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

Normally, parenting plans in such agreements specify that summer and other holidays trump customary weekends during the month. Even if yours does not, I strongly suspect that any judge reviewing this on a motion for contempt filed by either of you, will interpret the order with that in mind. If that happens, the judge may redraft it to specify that these events trump regular weekends. It sounds like that would be a very good idea in your case.

Your case is typical of what happens when there are no attorneys drafting these agreements from the beginning. People who represent themselves or those who hire these "fly by night" $500 flat fee attorneys get these agreements that are missing all sorts of common-sense provisions. What happens is you argue about what this poor agreement means for years to come. You both get very frustrated.

Now, if one of you violates a domestic order regarding parenting, that is normally subject to a contempt motion. This is a civil - not a criminal matter - that could still carry severe sanctions for violating the terms, like jail time. Kidnapping is quit a bit beyond the facts here. Kidnapping shows an intent to deprive the other parent more significantly than this. There is also interference with a custody order, which is a misdemeanor unless the action crosses state lines (in which case it is a felony). Again the facts here do not sound that egregious.

Also, from my experience, most law enforcement officers - and particularly those in other states - do not want to interpret these agreements. Typically they do not get involved, and instead they tell you to take the case to judge in a civil matter (Motion for Contempt). Finally, remember that just because someone says they are going to get you arrested for kidnapping or some other criminal charge, doesn't always mean it will happen. They must convince a police officer to arrest you and a district attorney to prosecute you. In domestic squabbles, that is often a lot harder than people think it is when they make these threats.

I advise you to see an attorney about possibly redrafting your agreement. Good luck.

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Posted

It's impossible for an attorney to answer your question without reading your parenting plan in its entirety. Normally, summer vacation trumps weekend visitation but you really should have an attorney review your paperwork to verify that this is the case in your situation. Many attorneys, including myself, offer complimentary family law consultations.

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Posted

No one can answer you without seeing the paperwork. The simple answer is no matter how nice you have been, you can be punished if you violate it. If you are not sure of what it says, see a lawyer.

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