Travel with the Children
If you have children and you have decided that the best course of action is a divorce, there are certain things all parties will need to get use to in your post-divorce life. One such issue is travel with the children. Any travel you and your former spouse engages in with the children within the state is normally not an issue. The issue that arises for parents is based on the question of interstate and international travel. The short answer—in general—you cannot prohibit your former spouse from taking the children on a vacation outside of their home state.
When this issue comes up, parents sometime want to limit travel. This is a mistake. First of all, the children are to share their time with you and your spouse and enjoy that time. That may mean that during a parent’s time during a break from school there may be a trip to Disney Land. Maybe there is a trip out of the county. Your spouse’s family may be from Turkey, England or Barbados. It is in the child’s best interests to be able to travel and see extended family. Of course, you are entitled to a full itinerary of the trip, to include the flight information where they are staying and be able to contact them during this trip. This contact should be reasonable. You are not entitled to have the children call you every hour on the hour. What is the normal contact provisions when the children are with your former spouse? Is it a good night phone call every day? Every other day? Keep that schedule going but also remember they are on vacation. Perhaps a phone call when they land and when they are about to leave their vacation would be appropriate.
If you are the parent taking the children away, be sensitive as how it will effect your spouse, especially if it is the first time such a trip is occurring. Speak to your spouse and give them the details of the trip. This is not seeking permission; this is more about co-parenting. If your spouse is comfortable with the trip, there will be less stress and tension which your children will benefit from. Make sure the children call your spouse often. This will not only make the trip more enjoyable but will ease the way for future trips
Your spouse need not ask your permission for these trips, but should inform you in a timely manner which will normally be designated in your agreement. I would recommend you also be flexible with this notification provision. If, for example, your children are scheduled to spend two weeks with your spouse over the summer and your spouse was to give you notice of travel two weeks in advance and gave it to you a couple of days in advance, is it in your child’s best interests to run into court and deny the trip on this technicality? Probably not. Remember, your children are your first priority and their best interests should always be your number one concern. Proceed with those principles in mind. Focus on your outcome, stay strong and keep taking ground.