Q: My ex-husband and I separated last year. We met when I was living in Melbourne and we relocated to New Zealand about 10 years ago. I still have most of my family livingin Melbourne and I have not been able to visit my family or take our three children to see their family in Melbourne. I want to take them to see my extended family for Christmas this year. My husband and I have had a generally amicable co-parenting relationship since we have separated, but I am not sure how he will feel about not seeing the children over Christmas this year.
International travel is a guardianship decision that must be made jointly between a child’s guardians.
Resolving a dispute between guardians
First, you need to speak with your ex-husband and get his agreement for you to travel overseas with the children. Some things you can do to ease any concerns he might have about the overseas travel include:
1. Providing him with a copy of your itinerary so he knows where the children are at all times.
2. Ensuring the children have regular facetime or Zoom contact with their father while they are away.
3. Keeping him in the loop about the children’s lives. For example, sharing photos. If you use a co-parenting app like Our Family Wizard, it’s very easy to share the children’s calendars and photos.
4. Ensuring you do not take the children overseas for the entire duration of the holidays. It’s important for the other parent to have some quality holiday contact with the children.
5. Offering to make up contact. For example, if you take them overseas this year for Christmas, you might agree that he can do the same next year.
6. Agreeing on health guidelines. For example, will the children be wearing masks during the travel? If they are not yet vaccinated, will they need to be prior to travel?
7. Agreeing on having copies of the children’s passports in case of emergency.
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