With summer vacation just around the corner, you may want to make plans to travel with your children. However, if you have shared custody with your ex, there are some additional complicating factors you’ll want to be sure to consider.
Follow the custody agreement
However you schedule your vacation, you want to be sure you do it within the parameters set out in the custody agreement. For example, if you split custody 50-50 with your ex, then you want to make sure that they still receive all the time to which they’re entitled. This could mean just taking a short trip with your kids on the days you have them. If you want to take a longer trip with them, then it’s important to work out an arrangement with your ex to make up the lost time to them.
It’s important to give your co-parent advanced notice about your vacation. Going on a trip with your kids without letting your co-parent know could be a violation of your custody agreement, and it could also lead to other legal repercussions.
Traveling out of state
Be sure to review the terms of your parenting plan before traveling out of state with your children. If the parenting plan stipulates that you have to ask for permission from your co-parent before taking your children outside of Washington, then it’s important that you abide by this. If your parenting plan doesn’t mention any such requirement, then you are free to take your kids out of state during your scheduled time with them.
Taking your children out of the country – even just across the border into Canada – is more complicated when you have shared custody. Be sure to check the State Department website to understand the requirements of any country you’re entering. Many countries have adopted safeguards to prevent international child abduction. For example, Canadian border control requires documentation of parental consent of travel from both parents – or else proof of sole custody – in order for a child to enter Canada.
Vacationing with your kids is still possible after a divorce. However, it’s worthwhile to be sure you’re doing it in a way that’s lawful and responsible.