Protecting What Matters Most

Out-of-state vacations with your children after divorce

On Behalf of | May 15, 2024 | Child Custody

A divorce changes just about everything when it comes to family dynamics, especially when it comes to issues concerning the children.

It’s natural to assume that your parenting time is exclusively “yours,” and that you’re free to do what you want with your children – including travel. However, you need to pause your plans until you’re 100% certain of the rules. Here is what to keep in mind:

Your custody and parenting plans control this situation

Most of the time, parents have shared legal custody of their children, which means that they each have an equal say over major decisions – and travel outside of your state is considered a major decision. This is true whether you’re just planning a trip to Disneyland or you’re thinking about visiting relatives overseas. 

If your custody plan addresses out-of-state travel, you may need to seek your co-parent’s consent before you make your plans. If your custody plan is silent on the issue, you’re playing with fire (and the risk of being accused of parental abduction) by not seeking consent anyhow. The only way it’s safe to go traveling without your co-parent’s permission is if your documents give you that express right.

Most of the time, you can resolve the issue with a child travel consent form that lists where you are traveling, your child’s information, your co-parent’s contact info, your itinerary dates and any other important information.

Sometimes, travel plans with the children can provoke a lot of hard feelings or anxiety from a co-parent. When that happens, it may require some careful renegotiations of the parenting plan to make sure that everybody’s concerns are properly accommodated. 


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