I have a 1 year old and and 4 year old. My husband and I have just started the divorce process and he would like to take the two kids on vacation for 1-2 weeks. I have been a stay at home mom and he has traveled for work, seeing the children on a limited basis. He has not shared in parental responsibilities up until the divorce process started. My concern is that the children are too young to be taken from their mother/primary care taker from birth for that extended period of time. I would be OK for them leaving for a weekend but 1 to 2 weeks seems too long, especially for a 1 year old. Anything I can do to prevent this from happening? Or limit the vacation for just the weekend?
It is very common for a parent to realize what they are losing when the process of divorce begins. This realization makes them take part in their children’s’ lives where they had taken this time for granted previously. I too have experienced this situation as my ex-husband travelled all the time and I was the stay at home mom so I understand your concern. I do believe though that the father wanting to have a vacation with your children is a good thing. The time frame of the vacation should be taken into consideration for the one year old. Some one year olds are fine to be with either parent as long as they have one of you. Some one year olds are completely attached to their mom and are not happy with just dad or vice versa. Your child’s comfort should be your first concern. If your one-year-old is happy spending time with his father then there shouldn’t be any problem with him taking him on vacation for one or two weeks. The four year old is probably completely fine with this time frame. If the one year old is not okay with being away from Mom, perhaps the father should be patient with that and only take the four year old this time? I would definitely try to communicate with the Father in a manner that is about the best interests of the children. Maybe a short trial vacation could help both of you know whether the longer time frame will work. As far as preventing him from taking them, unless he is abusive or neglectful I really don’t think that is the route to go, although you can express your concerns at the mediation hearing. However, the children need both parents in their lives and it is important for the father to be allowed to be with his children for longer than just a weekend. Florida courts follow the best interests doctrine when determining custody, visitation and time-sharing, so have a look at statute 61.13 for more information on this.