Taking your child on an out-of-state vacation seems very reasonable. From road trips to family reunions to European getaways, traveling can be a fun way to bond with family. However, if you and your spouse are divorced and share custody or parental responsibilities of a child, are you legally allowed to take your child out of the state without the other parent’s permission? Here’s a look at what you need to know–
Refer to Your Parenting Plan
At the time of divorce, parents must create a parenting plan that specifies how parenting time with a child will be shared, how decisions about a child will be made, etc. In some cases, the parenting plan may even talk specifically about vacations and out-of-state vacation. For example, if one parent typically travels out of state for a week during the summer for a family reunion, the child’s attendance may be noted in the parenting plan.
The first thing that you should do if you wish to travel with your child out of state is to reference your parenting plan. If the plan does not address how traveling out of state will be handled, you need to contact the child’s other parent.
Getting Permission from the Other Parent
If your parenting plan does not address traveling out of state, you may need the other parent’s permission to do so. The best way to approach this is to present the details of your trip to the other parent, ask if it is okay with them, and get their consent in writing.
If the parent does not consent to the trip, you may need to obtain a court order. You may also need a court order if you plan to take your child out of the country. You should be aware that many airlines also require additional documents when only one parent is traveling out of the country with a child.
When the Court Will Grant Permission
The good news is that most vacation-related child custody cases don’t need to go to court; so long as you inform the parent of the trip, the vacation is typically okay in the eyes of the law. If your case does go to court, the court will likely grant permission so long as it is within the best interests of the child and you do not have a bad history with the court (i.e. disobeying a parenting plan or court orders).
Working with an Attorney Is Always a Good Idea
If you are unsure of what your rights are regarding a vacation with your child, working with an attorney who can provide you with legal guidance and advice is always a good idea. At the law offices of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C., we can work with you to ensure that you have the right to take your child on vacation before you’re in violation of the law and help you to petition the court for permission if necessary.
Reach our Naperville, Wheaton, and Downers Grove family law attorneys today by sending us a message or calling us directly. We are here to serve you.