As a divorced parent in California, you likely faced several challenges regarding a new parenting plan as you navigated the process of severing your marital ties in court. Whether you have one child or several, it often takes a significant amount of negotiation to iron the wrinkles in a prospective plan for the future care and upbringing of children post-divorce. As you may already know or actually experienced, if you and your children's other parent are unable to agree, the court steps in to dictate the matter for you.
As far as traveling with children after divorce, there are some common misguided notions circulating about what the average parent may or may not do regarding taking children on vacation.
Clarifying the issues
It's important to know and understand as much about child custody laws as possible to avoid negative surprises and contentious disagreements with your former spouse. Following, are some of the most common myths where travel is concerned, as well as corrections that state the facts:
Myth: A custodial parent may take children anywhere at any time without letting anyone know and a non-custodial parent is prohibited from traveling with children.
Fact: If a court order exists, both parents must adhere to the terms of their agreement, especially where travel restrictions may apply. Both parents may travel with children unless the court has forbidden it for some reason.
Myth: A parent may travel out-of-state, even overseas, with children after divorce without seeking agreement from the other parent.
Fact: Not only is it typical that parental agreement is needed, but the court must also approve any plan that intends to remove a child or children from its jurisdiction.
Myth: There are standard, one-size-fits-all regulations governing travel with children after divorce.
Fact: While each state has its own guidelines, the court usually considers each situation on a case-by-case basis because what is best for children in one situation may not suit others. The court remains highly focused in all situations on the best interests of the children.
Children must always have means for communicating with both parents. The court also often asks the traveling parent to provide a copy of the projected itinerary to the other parent. Such rules are set forth so the parent not traveling can quickly get in touch with the traveling parent if there's an emergency. It would be nice if all divorced parents would be able to negotiate fair and agreeable terms with regard to travel time spent with kids. It's not always the case, however, and some parents find it necessary to return to court to resolve their issues.
An experienced family law attorney can provide sound counsel and guidance during such times. An attorney can advocate to protect your rights and make sure the best options available are implemented.