Custody Issues to Consider When You’re Divorced and Traveling with Your Child This Summer

One of the best things about summer for many people is taking vacations with the family. Planning a great family getaway can be exciting, and it is important to address all the important details. If you are divorced and want to travel with your children, one important detail to keep in mind is your legal requirements for your kids. You can’t just pack the children up in the car, or take them on the plane, without considering your custody agreement.

Plan Ahead

Unless you’re just going away for a weekend, the chances are high that your vacation plans will overlap with the time that your ex would normally be scheduled to be with the kids. You can’t just assume that they will willingly give up that time or trade days with you for another time. As soon as you know you want to take a vacation, talk with your ex to make the arrangements for which days. If there is any risk (and even in the best of situations, there is usually some level of risk) that they will change their mind to try to mess up your trip, get their agreement in writing.

Approval to Travel Out of State

Almost all child custody agreements will include some type of restriction when it comes to taking the children out of the state, and especially out of the country. In most cases, the agreement will state that neither parent can leave the state (or perhaps it will have a set distance that can be traveled) without prior approval from the other parent. While inconvenient, it is necessary to get permission from your ex to travel these distances with your children.

Think About Your Kids Traveling with Your Ex

When you’re on vacation with the kids, you will likely be focused on having fun and making memories and might not think about having your kids call your ex or send them pictures. While this is great at the time, think about what you would want when your ex decides to take your kids on a vacation with them. Allowing your kids to call, text, or email your ex at times during the trip will undoubtedly make the experience easier on them, easier on your ex, and will help ensure you will have an easier time should your ex ever travel with them too.

Be Careful in New Divorces and High Conflict Relationships

In most divorces the parents can be fairly civil toward each other, especially once there are some years between them and the divorce. Newly divorced couples, or those in high conflict relationships, however, can be quite irrational. If you are newly divorced, or your ex is vindictive, you don’t want to leave anything to chance. When planning a vacation, make sure you speak with your attorney to get everything handled correctly.

If you don’t and your ex decides to call the police because your vacation is during their parenting time, it could ruin the entire trip. While it is unfortunate that this sometimes has to be done, it is better to be safe than sorry. If you have any questions about traveling after a divorce, please contact attorney John M. Totten to go over your options and get the help you need.

Written by John M. Totten

John M. Totten

John's office is in Athens, Alabama, where he has helped thousands of people in North Alabama with everything from family law issues, to catastrophic injury and death cases, to criminal defense.