Ah, summer! The season brings thoughts of the sun, ice-cream, the beach, and, of course, vacation. But what happens when you are in the middle of a divorce, and you want to travel with your child[ren] during their summer vacation? Well, the question is multilayered, and with a lot of things to consider before booking your trip and packing your bags.
Questions such as: What stage in the divorce proceedings are you and your ex-partner in? Is there already a child custody arrangement? Do you want to vacation with the kids in-state, out of state, or out of the country?
If child custody has already been resolved, then the matter is less complicated. You will simply follow what the child custody agreement you and your ex-partner agreed on says. Child custody agreements will typically outline how many weeks or days of vacation you are allowed to take with your child throughout the year. It will also stipulate if travelling is confined to in-state travel, or if you can travel out of the state or country but with your ex-partner’s approval. It will also outline the finer points of the travel arrangements, such as, how many days before hand the ex-partner must be notified of the plans, if they have any say in the matter, and what happens in the case of an emergency while travelling. You may have to provide your ex-partner with a copy of your travel itinerary and be in communication throughout the trip.
If child custody has not been resolved, or even if it has been but you are seeking something not addressed in the child custody arrangement, then you will need to get your ex-partner’s written permission and if possible, it is best to get the written permission notarized to cement both parties agreed to the travel.
What if you cannot get your ex-partner’s permission to travel out of state? You may ask the court for permission to travel with your child[ren]. In making the decision the court will consider a myriad of factors, such as the purpose of the trip, whether it is to see a close family member or for recreational purposes, whether the trip is a yearly tradition, the state of your divorce proceedings, physical and legal custody, and the general best interests of the child[ren] involved. Should you take child[ren] without first obtaining written consent or the court’s permission, you would be breaking Family Code 2040 and may be charged with kidnaping.