McCoy Fatula, APCMcCoy
Fatula
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Will family law regulations affect your summer vacation?

It may not have been all smooth sailing, but you and your children survived divorce. In fact, you're well on your way to a new, happy lifestyle, and you are planning several occasions to build family memories and create fresh traditions. One of the things you and your children may be looking forward to most is a summer vacation. The kids will enjoy an academic break, and together, you'll get some much needed rest and relaxation.

If this is the first summer vacation you'll take following your divorce, you'll likely have many questions regarding family law regulations. For instance, since you're the custodial parent, can you take a trip without notifying your former spouse or seeking the court's permission?

U.S. family law regulations regarding child custody and vacations

It's understandable you and your children are eager to get away from it all and enjoy some fun-in-the-sun after finalizing your divorce. Chances are, you faced several child custody challenges during the process and could use some special time away with your kids to put the past behind you and create new and lasting family memories. Following, is a list of facts regarding vacations that may affect your summer plans:

  • It's a mistake to believe custodial parents can travel anytime, anywhere with their children without providing reasonable notice to their parental counterparts.
  • It's also incorrect that non-custodial parents are prohibited from taking vacations with their kids.
  • Many parents negotiate terms for future vacation situations when developing parenting plans during the divorce process.
  • When parents do not have existing agreements, or are unable to achieve an amicable plan, the court has the final say regarding family travel with minor children.
  • Restrictions regarding out-of-state travel, or any trips that remove a child from the court's jurisdiction, may apply.

The court typically requires a traveling parent to provide reasonable notice of a planned vacation to the other parent. Especially if travel plans interfere with an existing visitation schedule, you may have to allot substitute time to the non-traveling parent. The court could also require you to provide regular communication between your children and their other parent, as well as make sure the other parent has a copy of your itinerary, in case of emergency.

A summer vacation can be just the ticket to adapting to your new family dynamic after a divorce. It'd be nice if all contention regarding the divorce process and family-related matters would cease once the court issues a decree; however, it doesn't always happen that way. Many former spouses continue to face custody-related challenges, especially regarding holidays, summer vacations and other special events. A family law attorney can often help a concerned parent overcome obstacles that arise so vacation plans are not ruined.

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