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My question is I want to take a family trip and drive my kids home instead of flying them...can I do that based off order?

Gainesville, VA |

Here is what my order says:
2. That paragraph 7 of the June 17,2010 Order of Modification of Visitation is amended so that henceforth, the transportation costs associated with the spring break, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and summer visitation, shall continue to be equally divided between the parties. The child shall be flown on non-stop flights only, to and from Washington- Dulles International Airport, and to and from the Kansas City International Airport. The Mother shall book and pay for the round trip airline tickets, and the Father shall reimburse the Mother for one-half of the cost of the round trip tickets, with his reimbursement being due before the start of the visitation period.

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Attorney answers 3


What does the mother say?

The way this is worded, it seems to be more as a protection against the possibility of transfers during flights more than anything else, and how the costs are divided. If costs of the one-way ticket are reasonable, and you are not billing 1/2 the cost of your vacation travel to the mother, I would think she would agree.

Parents can agree on changes outside the specific orders. There is no way to account for all changes and circumstances and the court merely does the best it can to lay a solid foundation.

There should be flexibility and co-parenting to meet the best interests of the child.

Please note that this response is based upon the limited information available in the question. In addition, it is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship and is offered only as general information and not as legal advice.



I haven't asked the question yet because I wanted to get clarification. The problem is there is not any flexibility at all, so I can imagine she won't agree, but I wanted to get a legal opinion first. I don't plan on asking her to pay any part of my trip to get them home, but I'm sure she'll find some issue with it. Thank you


I can't tell by your question if you are the mother or father, and whether the children live in DC or KC, and with which parent they live. Regardless, I don't think it matters.

The order says "shall", but I think that is referring to non-stop flights as opposed to ones that might require changing planes. I don't see where this clause requires any particular mode of transportation over another.

With that said, any extra costs associated with a one-way ticket, rather than a round trip ticker, should be paid entirely by whomever is seeking to drive the second leg. The mother should not be required to pay more for the one-way ticket than she would pay for the round-trip, and she should expect 50% reimbursement for what would be the round-trip fare.

If on the other hand, the one-way is cheaper, I don't see the downside to either party. I don't think the mother would be entitled to any more that 50% of that lower rate; but if she is the one giving you a hard time, you may consider reimbursing her the 50% of what would be the round-trip fare in order to encourage her to cooperate.

Responding to questions on AVVO does not establish an attorney-client relationship between the questioner and any attorney associated with Garrett Law Group, PLC. Responses should be considered and used for informational purposes only. Every case is unique in its facts, and all legal matters should be discussed with a licensed attorney prior to making any decisions or taking any actions.



I am the father and I live actually in Springfield, MO. She got it written in the order that they can only be flown from Dulles to KC, which is a 3 1/2 hr drive for me. Plus there's only one airline that flies from there to KC direct…united. It's a total inconvenience for me, but a 20 min drive for her. I'm not asking her to pay for any of my trip and would expect the same, but doubt if she will agree. There is absolutely zero cooperation at all. I just thought it would be fun for us to drive and may save a little bit of money, but not much. I haven't even purposed the question yet because I wanted to have my ducks in a row before I did and make sure I had a right to even do this. Thank you!

James Donald Garrett

James Donald Garrett


You may also try to preempt any controversy by purchasing the one-way ticket from MO to DC. Then send her notice that you have covered the transportation costs for this visitation and she doesn't need to buy a ticket. Tell her when the kids will be arriving and when you will be picking them up. If she then tries to purchase a round trip ticket, I don't see a very strong leg for her to stand on if she demand you to reimburse her for half.



I sent her my dates in March and at the time asked her to not book anything and to just confirm the dates with me. I didn't receive an email back until a couple of weeks ago and she tells me that she's already booked the tickets and it would be such and such price, almost triple of what I could get a one-way ticket for. After looking at the receipt online it showed she had purchased the tickets about ten minutes before sending the email, so that shows you what I'm dealing with. I want to respond back and say I'm sorry, but I asked you not to purchase anything until I had confirmation on the dates and this is what I'm drive them home. My fear is that she won't send them when they're supposed to be here though. Even if she's already purchased the tickets can I say this legally and still go ahead with my trip?


Well its always best to obtain the other partys approval on any modification. You should be fine, if you are not taking any visitation time away from the other parent. If this were to be more regular, you can amend the order.

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