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. One issue is traveling with your children. Any travel 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 out of state or international travel arises, parents may want to limit travel. This is a mistake. First, the children are to share and enjoy their time with you and your spouse. That may entail that during a break from school there may be a trip to outside of your home state or even out of the county. Your spouse’s family may also be from another country. It is in the child’s best interests to be able to travel and see extended family. You are entitled to a full itinerary of the trip, including the flight information where they are staying, and you should be able to contact them. However, this contact should be reasonable. You are not entitled to have the children call you every hour on the hour. What are the normal contact provisions when the children are with your former spouse? Is it a good night phone call every day? Every other day? That depends on the vacation schedule and what is agreed upon. Keep a 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 also be appropriate.
If you are the parent taking the children away, be sensitive as to how this will affect your spouse, especially if it is the first time such a trip is occurring. Speak to your spouse and give him or her 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 will result in your children’s benefit. 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 recommend that you also be flexible with the notification provision. Remember, your children are your priority, and their best interests should always be your number one concern. Proceed with those principles in mind.