We all create checklists when preparing for summer trips. The standard checklist includes making sure you’ve packed the right clothes, snacks, activities, electronics, chargers, and medication. If you’re dealing with a co-parent, there are a few more items that should be on the summer travel checklist.
Choosing your vacation dates
Most custody orders set deadlines for announcing summer vacation. Review your order to determine if it was placed thirty (30) days in advance, sixty (60) days, by June 1st, or any other date. Make sure to provide your selected dates in accordance with the deadline to avoid unnecessary fights.
You should also ensure that your information is consistent with other provisions of the Custody Order. You cannot normally travel over a public holiday unless the public holiday is your term of detention that year. You should also check if there are any rules on how long leave can last, whether it must primarily include your custody time, and whether your weekend is part of the holiday or attached to the end of the holiday. Typically, your custody order will include a vacation and/or travel section detailing all of the planning details.
Share your itinerary
Most custody orders require that you provide an itinerary, including your whereabouts, mode of travel, address, where you will be staying, flight information (if applicable), contact information, and who you are traveling with. Provide this information to your co-parent in writing to avoid disputes. When you provide the information in writing, there is no confusion as to whether the information was sent, when the information was sent, and what information was sent.
Remember, if you use your mobile phone as part of holiday contact information, you should keep it switched on and charged at all times during your trip. In this way, your co-parent expects to be able to contact you and the children.
Know the limits of where you can travel
Check your custody order to see if there are any restrictions on where you can travel with your children. Sometimes you will need permission to leave the state overnight, or you may need to provide a notice of leaving the state overnight. Some orders allow you to travel anywhere in the continental United States without restriction. Some custody orders prohibit international travel or travel to certain countries. Check the limits in your order. Then plan to stay within the limits or request permission to travel outside the limits.
Travel abroad usually requires the approval of the court or the other parent. If you intend to travel outside of the United States, make sure that the country you intend to travel to is a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. You are more likely to get permission to travel to countries that have signed this convention. A list of signatory countries can be found here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/International-Parental-Child-Abduction/abductions/hague-abduction-country-list.html.
Secure travel documents in good time
Make sure you know what documents you need for the trip and how to secure them. If you need a child’s birth certificate or passport, make sure you have these documents in your possession. If not, arrange with the co-parent to collect the necessary documents.
If you need to obtain new documents, plan enough time. You must cooperate with your co-parent. Obtaining a passport for the child is often viewed as a legal custody decision; You don’t want to wait until the last minute to apply for a passport for the child. You may also need a copy of your custody order or other documents that allow the child to travel with a parent. Know the requirements of the airline, railway, cruise line, travel agency and all border crossings.
Finally, make sure you prepare ahead of time for the trip with your child. If you have questions about what is required for travel, or if the travel proposed by your co-parent is appropriate, be sure to consult with your custody attorney.