It may only be January, but now is the time to start thinking ahead and considering your plans for how you’ll be spending time with your children during spring break. Because school vacations can often be hectic, it’s important to coordinate details now to avoid a last-minute rush to reorganize everyone’s schedules. Plus, your children will appreciate knowing where and how they’ll be spending their time off from school.

Check Your Parenting Plan

The first place to start is your parenting plan. Find out if it specifies how your children will spend school holidays, such as spring break. This includes details about transportation or pickup times, which may vary due to school being closed. Furthermore, when does spring break officially begin and end—does it include both weekends and the work week? If your children normally stay with you on weekends, how will spring break affect your time with them?

If your parenting plan doesn’t already specify how your children will spend their break, you will either need to stick to the visitation details outlined in your current parenting plan or update your parenting plan to include spring break and other school holidays. Be sure to create an agreement in writing with your ex to avoid any confusion or future disagreements. This also applies to any changes you need to make regarding existing vacation agreements currently outlined in your parenting plan.

Even when you plan ahead, unexpected situations can still arise. For instance, you may find out you’re no longer able to get time off from work, which means you won’t be able to stay at home with your children during spring break. Consider these kinds of situations when creating your spring break parenting plan so you or your ex can quickly address any unexpected emergencies.

Spring Break Travel

Many families use spring break to travel, which can pose challenges when it comes to child visitation matters. If you plan on taking your children on a vacation, be sure you give your ex reasonable notice (your parenting plan may specify how many days’ notice you must provide) as well as details about your destination and the duration of your stay.

As your children get older, they may want to spend time with their friends during spring break or even go on vacation with them. Keep in mind, if you and your ex agree to let your children spend part or all of their spring break traveling with their friends, you will not be given any extra parenting time. However, if your ex allows your children to go on a trip during your parenting time without getting your permission, you may be able to request compensatory parenting time.

When it comes to your kids, dividing time with your ex can be difficult—especially when you’re both hoping to enjoy spring break with them. But in the end, it comes down to what’s in the best interests of your children.