When you’re divorced and have a custody agreement, traveling isn’t as easy as picking up whenever you want and going anywhere with your children. There are rules in place and protocols you must follow because you are now divorced. Before you make your travel plans, it’s important to know how your custody agreements can affect your travel plans.
Here are some things to consider to make the situation easier for everyone:
Have a Written Agreement
While you and your ex may have a verbal agreement about custody arrangements, you need to have something in writing. Verbal agreements are not binding and one party can turn around and negate what they previously said. When something is in writing there is no question about what should be happening.
When you have a document in writing that clearly states your custody arrangements you should also have a section that details who can travel with the child and where. Any restrictions should clearly be stated. This includes who is allowed to travel with the child and who is not.
Specific issues regarding travel should also be stated. This includes instances when one parent has custody on a certain holiday and the other parent wants to travel with the child. If special exceptions are going to be in place, this needs to be stated. Also, both parents need to agree on whether children will be able to miss school for traveling.
Some custody agreements have a clause that states that children cannot be taken out of the country or even the state where they live. It’s important to be aware of this if you were planning that type of trip. If you want to change the details of your custody agreement that was filed with the court to accommodate your plans, you’ll likely have to have legal help to re-file with the court.
When it comes to traveling with kids, it also needs to be clearly stated how much notice the other parent should receive. Some parents want to be notified a long time in advance of the trip while others require a shorter time. These are all issues that need to be considered. The bottom line is to have everything in writing to avoid confusion.
Depending on the type of custody agreement and whether parents share custody, one parent may block the other from traveling with the child. If the parent who wants to travel with the child only has visitation rights, they would have to clear their plans with the other parent. The parent with sole custody could block all travel with the other parent if they are not on board with the plan. You need to consider the type of relationship you have with your ex and be open to communicating to solve these issues.
If there is a custody agreement in place and one parent clearly violates the terms regarding travel, there can be serious consequences. These can vary depending on where you live, but can include:
- Being held in contempt of court
- Facing other legal action
- Having visitation limited or revoked
- Face penalties
These consequences can be easily avoided by having a custody agreement in place that clearly lists travel arrangements and having both parents follow them. When you are divorced, it is important to understand and accept that you most likely will not be able to travel freely with your child. While it may be hard, it’s vital to follow the rules in the best interest of your child. When these rules are violated, the children always get caught in the crossfire. But, when both parents can work together, everyone can benefit.