Summer is approaching, and everyone is looking forward to taking time off. Before heading off to the Hamptons or St. Barts, divorced parents who share custody of their children should quickly pause to read their custody agreement and ensure their vacation plans do not violate it.
It is also a good idea to remember that if anything in your custody agreement needs to be clarified, it is always best to ask your attorney before leaving for vacation.
Custody agreements set out the rights and responsibilities of the parents as it relates to custody of their children. Some clauses in the document could be agreements that the parents came to on their own, and the court may have ordered other clauses. It is critical to understand the difference.
Questions to ask yourself before booking your vacation with your child:
- Does my trip conflict with the summer vacation parenting schedule in the custody agreement?
- Was the parenting schedule agreed to by the parents or ordered by the court?
- If traveling internationally, do you need the other parent’s permission to take the child out of the country?
- Do you have consent from the other parent? Is it in writing and signed by both parents?
- In the event of joint custody, are there any activities planned for your trip that could require the other parent’s agreement? Have you requested and received consent?
While hopefully your relationship with the other parent is one of cooperation and understanding, it is always wise to ensure that anything both parents agree to is in writing and signed by both.
If you have questions about your custody agreement or require an exception from the court to travel with your child, you must request a hearing with the judge who issued the custody order.
Making summer plans is exciting, and while a custody agreement is not the most fun topic, it is essential to think about it. Reviewing and ensuring compliance with your custody agreement should be one of the first things you do when planning a vacation with your child. Violating a court order can get you into trouble and hurt you in your case.