By Sarah Long
Cordell & Cordell Minnesota Divorce Lawyer
With Spring Break approaching for many school-aged children, divorced dads have questions about parenting time over school breaks.
Below are answers to four common questions on Spring Break parenting time.
1. What if my divorce decree does not address parenting time over school breaks?
If a divorce decree does not address school breaks or only some school breaks, then the original parenting time schedule will be followed. The parties may agree to a different schedule but the court will only enforce the court ordered parenting time.
If the divorce decree does address school breaks then the specified school break parenting time will take precedence over normal parenting time.
2. What if the other parent and I agree to a school break schedule after our divorce decree has been signed and filed?
If both parents mutually agree to any additions or subtractions to the parenting time schedule, you should get those agreements in writing, dated, and signed by both parties (preferably in front of a notary).
This way if one party decides they no longer want to abide by the mutually agreed changes, the other party can bring the written agreement to a modification hearing to show the court.
3. What if my child wants to go with her friends on a trip over school breaks? Do I lose that parenting time? Do I get compensatory parenting time?
Compensatory parenting time can be ordered if the court finds that a parent has been wrongfully deprived of the duly established right to visitation. Therefore, if the other parent allows the minor child to go with her friends on spring break (and it is your court ordered parenting time) and you did not agree, this could be a case for compensatory parenting time.
However, if you allow your minor child to go with her friends on your time, then no compensatory parenting time would be allowed.
4. What if I have my child over a school break and I have to work? Who pays for daycare? Can I leave my child with a family member?
If your divorce decree has a first right of refusal, then you may not be able to leave the minor child with a family member or friend. A right of first refusal lays out the times and situations in which a parent (who has the child) must give the other parent (who does not have the child) the opportunity to watch the child before using daycare or another person. The first right of refusal will be specific to your divorce.
If there is no first right of refusal, then you should able to leave the minor child with a family member while you are away at work.
If there are daycare costs involved, the costs should be included in the average daycare costs when calculating child support. If the daycare costs were not included when calculating child support, you can request child support be modified to include these costs. Keep in mind it would probably not be worth the modification of child support for only a few days of childcare.
Cordell & Cordell has divorce lawyers for men located nationwide.