23 Aug How To Travel With Your Child if You Have Partial Custody
With summer right around the corner, you might start planning a weekend camping trip with your child or a vacation to another state to visit family. But what happens when you want to travel with your child if you have partial custody and share them with an ex-spouse? Can you still travel? Or do you have to take the vacation alone?
This might be confusing when it’s your first time planning travels with a child under joint custody. Planning a vacation when you’re married is simple, but once divorce enters the mix, it becomes more complicated. While each individual custody agreement is different, the tips in this article can help you plan a vacation without violating your court agreement. Here’s how you can travel with your child this summer.
Can You Travel With Your Child?
Traveling in-state is much different than out-of-state travel. Under a 50/50 parenting agreement, it shouldn’t be an issue if you’re taking your child somewhere in-state and doing this during your allocated time under the court order. However, out of respect, it doesn’t hurt to let the other parent know where you’re taking the child.
When it comes to out-of-state travel, you should have this outlined in your custody order. In fact, the Washington court system encourages spending time with your children outside of normal day-to-day activities. So planning for travels can factor into your co-parenting agreement, so you can likely travel out-of-state with your child.
Now that you know for sure that you can travel with your kids under joint custody, consider the following advice to ensure everything goes smoothly and according to plan.
Reread the Terms of Your Joint Custody Agreement
Before you begin planning anything, reread the terms of your joint custody agreement. You never want to book flights and hotels for travel only to realize it’s not within your allowed parenting time. For example, your custody agreement might only allow travel during a specific time of the year. Or you must plan the vacation during the week you have custody of your child.
Whether you’re unsure about your custody agreement or need a refresher, pull out your papers and review them again before booking any vacation. This will ensure you follow your custody agreement signed by the court system.
Reach Out to Your Attorney for Assistance/Support
If you’re still unsure about the parameters of your custody agreement, it doesn’t hurt to contact your Washington child custody attorney. Your attorney will know the ins and outs of Washington’s child custody laws and can assist you with any confusion. This will further verify that you’re handling the situation correctly without breaking a court order.
Inform Your Ex About Your Plans
Informing your ex-spouse about your travel plans is necessary, especially if you’re going out of state. How would you feel to learn that your child is states away and you had no idea? This can also help you avoid conflict from the beginning.
Consider informing your ex about where you’re going, the length of your stay, any itineraries, and any other important information. We recommend having this conversation before booking a trip. This ensures that everyone is on board with and aware of the plan.
Be Flexible and Prepare To Compromise
You can’t expect your ex to agree with everything. You may need to be flexible for this vacation to work. For instance, your ex-spouse might suggest a trip a few months away instead of immediately due to a school event. Or they might ask that you start with an in-state trip before going out of state.
You will need to compromise on some things to avoid conflict. Learn to be flexible because the roles could reverse eventually. Your ex might want to take your child on vacation, too! Flexibility and compromise can go a long way in building a healthy relationship, married or divorced.
Ensure You Have the Proper Documentation
Depending on your custody order, you may need written consent from the other parent. This isn’t always the case, but it can help if a conflict were to arise in the future. So even if your custody agreement doesn’t suggest written consent for out-of-state travel, we still recommend acquiring it.
There are no strict guidelines for documenting consent, but preparing yourself by bringing everything you could possibly need is best. In general, include the who, what, when, where, why, and how questions to cover all your bases.
Who is traveling with the child, and who are the legal guardians? What are you doing on vacation? When are you leaving and arriving back home? Where are you going? Why are you asking for consent? And how will you keep in contact with your ex-spouse?
Don’t forget to also pack any legal IDs or other documentation that you may need.
Can You Travel Abroad With Your Child?
The same questions and issues arise when you’re planning a trip abroad with your child. Typically, both parents must consent for a minor to obtain a passport. If your ex doesn’t agree with this, the refusal of the passport might prohibit you from traveling internationally.
When you want to plan this type of vacation, it pays to have this conversation with your ex beforehand to ensure it’s something you both agree to. Vacationing in a different country is an entirely different situation than vacationing one state away.
What Happens if You Receive Sole Custody of Your Child?
A single parent that obtains sole custody of a child is responsible for all decision-making. Therefore, if you want to travel in-state, out-of-state, or abroad with your child, you can do so without repercussions or permission from the other parent. Remember, this is only suitable for sole custody; if you have joint custody, you will need to follow the advice from your attorney and your custody agreement.
Now that you know how to travel with your child if you have partial custody, is this something you’re planning? Ensure you follow our advice to avoid breaking the court order. Don’t forget to reach out to your attorney if you need support or advice.
Are you looking for a child custody attorney? Consider working with LaCoste Family Law. Our attorneys have the proper knowledge and experience to help you in a child custody battle. Call us today to schedule an appointment!