Parents who share custody after divorcing frequently disagree about what the other should do with the kids. However, you generally have the right to do what you deem appropriate and in the best interest of the children during your parenting time, provided that you do not violate either state law or your agreement with the other parent.
Travel during summer vacation can be a great way for parents to reconnect with their children after the stress of a divorce, but it could also cause friction between the parents. One parent may worry about the disruption to the family schedule or think their ex will kidnap the children once they cross state lines.
Can you take the kids to Oklahoma to visit their grandparents or to California to learn to surf this summer if you have shared custody with your ex?
Your custody order might address travel
Many parents include travel rules in their parenting plans. You should look at your order to see if you and your ex included restrictions on travel. Sometimes, one parent will ask the courts to not allow the other to leave the state with the children without prior permission. Other times, the only restriction is that you cannot leave the country without authorization.
If your parenting plan limits you to travel within Texas or only with approval, then you will need to notify your ex of your plans as soon as you start scheduling. What if they don’t cooperate?
You can request a travel modification
When you want to travel with the kids, you can ask the family courts for a modification of your parenting plan. If you will frequently leave the state because you have family elsewhere, you may ask for a modification of the order to allow that travel in the future. If you only want a specific vacation experience with the kids, then a modification that allows the travel this once may be all you need to secure.
Talking with your ex about your itinerary and agreeing to give them make-up time if your trip would affect their schedule can both be ways to help you reach an agreement about vacation travel while co-parenting with your ex. Knowing your rights can help you pursue that dream vacation even when your ex isn’t cooperative with your attempts to plan a fun trip with the children.