Travel Reminders for Parents Sharing Custody
Whether you are traveling for spring break or taking an out-of-state family trip, if you share custody of your minor child, there are a few things you should consider before planning your trip or booking that ticket.
Do you have a Custody Order in place?For parents with a Custody Order in place, you should review your Order to refresh your memory on what is required for travel. Some Orders include specific requirements relating to when or how long you can travel with your minor child. If you do not have a Custody Order in place, now is the time to speak with a family law attorney about entering one.
Does your parenting schedule change during prime travel times such as spring break?Most Orders have "regular" parenting time and "holiday" parenting time. Typically, spring break is considered holiday parenting time, and will supersede (or replace) your regular parenting time. Before planning your trip, be sure to understand when your week begins and ends. For example, your holiday parenting time may go from Saturday to Saturday, instead of Sunday to Sunday.
Does your Custody Order require you to obtain approval from the other parent before traveling?Most Orders do not prevent a parent from traveling domestically with their minor child without the other parent's consent; however, be sure that your Order does not require you to obtain the other parent's approval. It is more likely your Order simply requires the traveling parent to provide notice and information about travel plans, such as dates of travel, the address where the child will be staying, and a telephone number to reach the child during the trip. If you are traveling by plane, your Order may also require you to provide the flight itinerary. Some Orders can require a specific amount of advanced notice for travel so be sure to pay close attention to any time frames for advance notice which are required in your Order.
Are you traveling domestically or internationally?When travelling internationally, there may be additional steps for you to take, such as obtaining a passport for your child. If your child does not have a passport, you should apply for a passport well in advance of your travel plans. When applying for a child's passport, who is under the age of sixteen, the application must be submitted in person and the child must be present. Although both parents should appear with the child, if both parents cannot be present, there are additional document requirements. In addition to the documents, a copy of the front and back of the non-applying parent's government-issued photo identification must be submitted with the application.