By Hope Tuber
If you have children, there are certain things all parties will need to get use to in your post-divorce life. One such change is travel with the children. Any travel you and your former spouse engages in with the children within the state is generally not an issue. The issue that arises for parents is based on the question of interstate and international travel. In general—you cannot prohibit your former spouse from taking the children on a vacation outside of their home state.
However, sometimes parents want to limit travel. This is a mistake. First of all, the children are to share and enjoy their time with you and your spouse. That may mean that during a parent’s time during a school break there may be a trip to Disney Land. Maybe there is a trip out of the county. Perhaps your ex-spouse’s family lives out of the country, and they want to see extended family. If there are no extenuating circumstances your children are permitted to go. Nevertheless, you are entitled to a full itinerary of the trip, including the flight information where they are staying, and you are also able to contact them during the trip. This contact should be reasonable. You are not entitled to have the children call you every hour on the hour. Remember they are on vacation. Perhaps a phone call when they land and when they are about to leave their vacation would be appropriate and depending on the length of stay once or twice during the week.
If you are the parent taking the children away, be sensitive as how it will affect your ex-spouse, especially if it is the first time. This not seeking approval but about co-parenting. If your spouse is comfortable with the trip, there will be less stress prior and after the trip. In sum, the children will benefit from the open communication between you and your ex-spouse. This will not only make the trip more enjoyable but will ease the way for future trips
If there is no court order, and you and your spouse agreed, then there is no need to ask permission for these trips, but you should inform each other in a timely manner which will normally be designated in your agreement. I would recommend you also be flexible with this notification provision. Remember, your children should be your first priority and their best interests should always be your number one concern. Proceed with those principles in mind.