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Old 11-02-2012, 09:00   #1
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Cruising with Kids from Split Parents

My wife and I would love to go cruising with our kids. . I have a 6 year old girl from a previous relationship & a 6 month old from my present wife of 5 years. We both lived aboard & sailed growing up. I lived aboard my dad & stepmom's 50' Prout catamaran at age 14 for a couple years and loved it. When I turned 16, I heard of all the fun my friends back home were having getting their drivers licenses. It made me long to go back on land & live with my mom & her husband. I wish now, looking back, that I had continued on with my dad. I eventually got my own sailboat when I was 20 & cruised the Keys & Bahamas off & on for 6 years. My question is, is there any parents out there with shared custody of kids that are able to make cruising with kids a reality? We would love to take off cruising with our kids now but I have shared custody with my 6 year old daughter & don't think her mother would be keen on the idea. We are 36 & 40 years old now & don't want to wait til later. As for the teenager onboard, I wish I had started sailing earlier is my only regret. I learned a lot & deal with things better now because of sailing. Some of the happiest times of my life!
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:04   #2
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Re: Cruising with kids from split parents

Will depend on the terms of the agreement, but in general the mother will have to agree if it impacts her time with the kids.

Time to consult an attorney. I would not depend on free legal advice on the internet for something that might impact you parental rights if wrong.
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:32   #3
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Re: Cruising with kids from split parents

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mellowsail View Post
My question is, is there any parents out there with shared custody of kids that are able to make cruising with kids a reality?
I knew a guy in the South Pacific who had his two children for the summer. When I met they were hanging out in Rarotonage, and seemed to be having a lot of fun with their Dad. He was otherwise a single hander. But I'm sorry, I don't know any other details of their arrangement other than that the shared custody was for big blocks of time.

Some parts of the world of course have shorter and inexpensive flights from America-- so maybe it could work for shorter blocks, sort of the same situation as if you moved to another state.
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:32   #4
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Re: Cruising with kids from split parents

Have been a couple of good threads that covered this (so worth a search) - but from the memory, the short answer (for US) folks is that if the other Parent objects then you are stuffed......and that the answer centres around how to get the other Parent onboard (to the idea - if not physically!), and that runs into the usual (?!) seperated people stuff........

My bill is in the post.
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:57   #5
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Originally Posted by skipmac
Will depend on the terms of the agreement, but in general the mother will have to agree if it impacts her time with the kids.

Time to consult an attorney. I would not depend on free legal advice on the internet for something that might impact you parental rights if wrong.
The other parent would have to consent in order to leave the US and to enter most countries, you will need that consent in writing.
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Old 11-02-2012, 12:43   #6
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Thanks guys! I knew about the permission aspect. Right now we have a 50/50 time sharing split that's 4 days on 3 days off alternating. Have talked to my attorney about the legal issues, but just wondered if there's any members that have worked it out with their ex and if so, how they did the time sharing? I think the "having them for the summer" seems nice. I'm pretty involved in my daughter's daily life & don't know if I could go too long without seeing her though. Would still like to hear any positive or negative stories from other cruisers. Thanks again for all the replies so far!

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Old 11-02-2012, 13:50   #7
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Re: Cruising with kids from split parents

How does your ex feel about sailing in general? Some people who don't know anything about it will hear about plans for going cruising for a few months and they'll imagine it's a near death sentence. Falling off the edge of the world, sea monsters, perfect storms, sea spouts, maelstroms, pirates, the Bermuda Triangle, etc.

But if she's a sailor, or just someone with a rational view of the risks inherent in life, you might be able to have a reasonable conversation about it.
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Old 11-02-2012, 13:54   #8
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Re: Cruising with kids from split parents

Any good dad wants to be with their children as much as possible. With that said, I have seen that 'good dads' are in short supply. If you ex has any sense about her (mine didn't) then she will understand that you wish to be there as a father for her daughter.

If you both see eye to eye in her staying in a public/private school system, then 'having them for the summer' is really the only way to go. But you don't have to limit your time to the months of June-August. There are many other 'breaks' that could be used for her visitation with you. Of course, this can also be additional costs if airfare is involved. Maybe this is a cost that her mother would be willing to split(??).

Ultimately, the ex wife HAS to be in sync with you and your daughters plans or you could find that you have NO visitation while cruising. Each state regulates custody, so the child usually has to stay in that state unless both parents agree to something else. From my experience, if you want to cruise you should probably take it as a great blessing that you got the whole summer with her! I know I would have if I had gotten that chance!

Good luck!
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Old 11-02-2012, 19:23   #9
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@Cormorant- I was living aboard & getting ready to head to the Bahamas for a month (I live in the Florida Keys) when I met her mother. She loved sailing. Unfortunately, 4 years after us splitting up & no problems with shared custody & finances, she has pulled a 180 on me with arguments over visitation. Largely due to the birth of my 6 month old daughter from my new relationship. Theres a bit of spite going on That's a complete other topic for another forum, though Thanks for the reply. I could see where her not liking sailing would definitely have come into play
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Old 11-02-2012, 20:32   #10
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Re: Cruising with kids from split parents

Except for your last post you did not mention whether you would be cruising "inside" the USA or taking the kids "outside-international."

Taking "split kids" out of the country is a major hassle as the local jurisdiction they are from may loose legal control of the kids to the laws of the foreign country.

Additionally, if the passports of the kids have surnames different from yours, you are really going to get looked at very carefully by the immigration people.

So as posted by others, you need to have written notarized permission from the "other" parent before taking the kids "outside the USA." It needs to be "airtight" so consulting your lawyer is the only way to get the proper opinion and paperwork.
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Old 11-02-2012, 20:52   #11
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Re: Cruising with kids from split parents

Sterling Hayden's book (Wanderer?) is the ultimate example of how not to do it. He defied a court order, loaded up the kids and took off. I think things ended up ok eventually. I'll have to get that book again, a great read.
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Old 11-02-2012, 22:06   #12
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Re: Cruising with kids from split parents

To maximize your time you really have to get on the same page with your co-parent. Including her in the planning for positive experience opportunities for your shared child can ease some of the strain. I've sailed as a single Dad for more than 12 years now, my son from 3 on grew up sailing with me. Because he is very active acedamically our long trips are limited to vacations. A good lawyer helped set up a summer vacation schedule that worked up to a month long block of time over a couple years to smooth the transition and what he has gotten out of it was obvious to everyone. We sail into Canada which takes the whole passport and permission letter routine which you need to leave the country. Everything has to be divided time wise fairly and it can take years to get things working without resentments. I've been too busy and a bit unlucky not to tie into a long lasting new relationship so I haven't experienced your problem but my lads mom did land a landlubber flubber who had a older son. We kept things simple by dealing with our child as his parents only which minimized problems and kept both of us parents focused on what was best for our child. I think that approach is worth trying with your ex to minimize the resentments. You have to make a real commitment to your child to make things work-sailing off and hooking up all over the world would really take teamwork with her mother. It could be a wonderful opportunity but being available everyday can be the rock a child needs. Staying local kept me as a full time Dad as well as let me care for my own aging parents but it also kept half the weekends, weekdays and vacations in the line up which adds up to a lot of sailing. The most important thing is communicating well with your daughter to see what she wants and needs, she will be the best ambassador you can get.
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