What are the Rules of Custody?

While it may seem like a inviolable right to travel with your child whenever you want, things can get sticky if you have a custody agreement in place with your ex-spouse and travel without his or her knowledge. This is especially true when your travel plans will take you across state lines. Here’s a glimpse at some of the custody rules in regards to traveling with your child.

If You Have Sole Legal Custody

Whether you can freely take your child on the road depends on the type of custody the court awarded you. If you have sole legal custody, you can most likely make travel plans without the other parent’s consent or knowledge. Before you pack your bags, however, make sure that any divorce decree or parenting plan in place doesn’t have any special provisions that restrict out-of-state or international travel. If they do, you will need consent of the court before taking your trip.

If You Share Joint Legal Custody

If you share custody, then look at the court order to see if it allows, or at least doesn’t prohibit travel across state lines. It may be allowed, but these court orders typically require you to obtain the other parent’s permission. Even if the court order doesn’t require it, obtaining the other parent’s written consent can help protect you in case a dispute arises later.

If You Have No Custody Order

If custody is still pending or you have no order in place, there is nothing that states you can’t travel with your child without permission, but it’s a great idea to seek the other parent’s permission or court approval. This is especially true if an order is still pending. Taking actions without consulting the other parent can make a judge think you won’t be able to effectively co-parent with your child’s other parent.
When traveling with your child, keeping the other parent informed can help ease tensions. Failing to do that could lead to disputes, and in the worst case, criminal kidnapping charges. Knowing your rights during a custody battle can help you protect yourself and your child, and an experienced attorney can help ensure your rights are protected. If you’re having issues with the custody of your child, call for a consultation today.


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