Co-Parenting 101: Planning Interstate Travel with a Shared Custody Arrangement

Can I Travel to Another State with My Kids?

After your divorce is finalized, you and your family will have to adjust to your new reality. Family vacations are one of the many things that will change. You and your former spouse likely have a co-parenting arrangement that involves some form of shared custody, and your custody agreement may have provisions for vacations and travel. In many circumstances, the other parent's written consent is required before you can take your kids out of state. As you all learn to navigate these new circumstances, you and your ex will need to work together to keep communication lines open, especially when planning travel.

There are no laws that generally restrict a parent from taking their child out of state on vacation. Whether you are visiting grandparents next door in Utah or taking your kids to Disneyworld, it is recommended that you consult your custody and visitation documents before purchasing plane tickets and making the trip. This will help ensure that you understand what was initially agreed upon during your divorce and can help you avoid misunderstandings.

There Are No Restrictions on Interstate Travel; Am I Good to Go?

If you and your former spouse outlined rules for interstate travel in your custody arrangement, you want to be sure that you understand what those rules are and work to plan a trip that complies with them. Suppose your custody arrangement does not mention vacations or interstate travel. In that case, you should still plan your trip carefully and work with your former spouse to ensure that everyone is comfortable with the plan.

Tips for planning an interstate vacation with your kids include:

  • Keep communication open with your former spouse – make sure they know when you are going, where you are going, what you will be doing, and how you and the kids can be reached while away
  • Give your former spouse ample notice of the planned vacation whenever possible
  • Look over your visitation schedule, and do your best to plan your vacation during your scheduled time
  • If your trip interferes with your former spouse's time with the kids, work with them to amend the schedule to accommodate the trip without diminishing their valuable time with the kids
  • Work with your ex to establish ground rules regarding what you will be doing on the vacation
  • Have an emergency plan in place and communicate it to your former spouse

Even in the best of situations, disagreements are likely to arise. It is also a good idea to avoid confrontation or arguing when in front of your kids. Do your best to remain calm when working out disagreements. If you continue to struggle to reach an agreement, you may wish to work with a mediator. The Law Office of Greg Quimby, P.C. has experience serving as a mediator for the facilitation of successful co-parenting.

These are just a few ideas to help you plan a fun out-of-state vacation with your family post-divorce. Click here to read more on Parenting Plans and Vacation Planning: What You Need to Know.

Stopping a Vacation

Unfortunately, there are situations in which a former spouse plans an out-of-state trip that you want to be blocked. For example, if your custody arrangement requires written consent, which you have not given, and your ex insists on moving forward with the trip, you may wish to take legal action to stop the vacation. Similarly, if you are concerned about your children's safety or well-being because of what is planned for the trip, you may also want to speak with a lawyer to see what you can do to prevent the vacation from happening.

Some things you can do to restrict your ex from traveling out of state with your children include:

  • Seek an emergency protective order
  • File a motion to block the travel
  • Seek a child custody modification
  • Petition to revoke your children's passports

I Am Worried About Parental Kidnapping; What Do I Do?

Parental kidnapping occurs when a non-custodial parent takes minor children without the custodial parent's consent or knowledge. This is a serious offense and is made even more serious when the children are taken out of state. If you are concerned that your ex has plans to abduct your children, call our family law firm in Colorado Springs for guidance. Our attorneys are well-versed in all aspects of family law, and we are prepared to help you protect your family.

For more in our Co-Parenting 101 blog series, click here to read up on successful co-parenting.

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