Vacation Issues – When Do I Need My Former Spouse’s Permission to Travel?

A teal hard suitcase surrounded by accessories like shoes, a hat, a camera, a wallet, etc.Every parent looks forward to spending quality time with their children. Taking the children on vacation is a great way to bond and build memories that will last a lifetime. After a divorce or separation, this can be even more important, as a parent’s time with the children is less consistent as a result of sharing parenting time. Unfortunately, a divorce or custody dispute can also make vacation time a delicate subject.

When trying to understand your rights and responsibilities when taking your child on vacation after a divorce, you should first look at your divorce decree. In the vast majority of cases, the parents share joint legal custody. Most orders will also provide for specific vacation time for both parents. If you have joint legal custody with your former spouse, you will not need his or her permission to travel out of the state with your child during your vacation time.

Vacation time becomes more complicated, however, where you are looking to travel out of the country. Where your child is under the age of sixteen and you share joint legal custody with your former spouse, you will need your co-parent’s agreement to get a passport for your child. If your former spouse refuses to cooperate with the paperwork or provide permission, you can return to court to seek a court order allowing you to get a passport issued over your spouse’s objection.

Parents also need to be aware that some parenting orders have notice provisions for vacation time. In some situations, parents need to provide written notice to the other parent on when he or she intends to exercise extended visitation time. These provisions are especially common for summer vacation. You need to carefully read your order to determine if you need to provide written notice and when the deadline for that notice may be. If you fail to provide the required notice by the deadline, you may not be able to take your child on a planned vacation without facing consequences from an angry former spouse seeking to have a court hold you in contempt.

These are just a few examples of the rules surrounding vacation time with your child. Call us today at (651) 371-9117 for a consultation so we can talk with you about whether you need permission to travel with your child and how to avoid future difficulty.