Summer is here and many families like to take vacations with their children. A common question when going through a divorce or after is "are there any restrictions on travelling with my children?"
If you are already divorced, look at your parenting agreement. In most agreements, there are guidelines related to vacation (extended) parenting time. Those restrictions oftentimes address giving notice and providing the necessary information to the other parent, such as itinerary, flight information, contact information, and the place that you will be staying. There may also be information about where you are able to take the children and for how long.
It is important that you are familiar with your plan prior to booking a trip. The plan should define the priority of parenting time. For example, in most cases, holidays trump extended time. This means that you cannot plan a vacation during the other parent's holiday time. Additionally, the time allotted in your plan is generally for the entire year. Do not use all of your time in the summer if you plan to take vacation time during winter or spring break.
Travelling internationally with your children requires an entirely different set of rules. You will likely need to work with your ex spouse to ensure that your children have the appropriate passports and documentation. A consent to travel letter is required by some airlines and foreign countries. It is always the best practice to have a consent to travel letter and a copy of your decree with you when you travel. A consent to travel letter should include the names of the children with their birthdates, the dates of travel, the destination and the people travelling with the children. It should be signed by the other parent and notarized.
If you are in the middle of a divorce or these provisions are not set forth in your divorce papers, it is important to get an agreement from the other parent before taking the children on vacation. If the other parent will not agree, then you will have to get a court order. Therefore, it is very important to plan ahead.
If you are planning a vacation, it is important to be organized. An attorney can guide you through the process and answer any questions that you may have related to your specific travel plans.