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Placing restrictions on parental travel with kids

As you and your spouse are working out your child custody agreement and parenting plan, one of the things you're likely negotiating is where your children will spend holidays and vacations. While you're doing that, it's also essential to determine what, if any, restrictions each parent will have on traveling with the children.

Some custody agreements state that a minor child can't be taken out of the state by one parent without the other parent's permission (or possibly at all). Others instead specify the number of miles that a parent can travel with a child without permission. Still others restrict only travel abroad.

A custody agreement should also make some reference to how much notification one parent is required to give the other. Often, it's simply "reasonable notice." For example, two days before a trip to Europe wouldn't be reasonable, but a month's notice before a trip to the Grand Canyon would probably be excessive -- particularly if the trip falls during the time the child is scheduled to be with the parent he or she is traveling with.

Even if you have primary custody of your child, that doesn't necessarily mean that you can take him or her wherever you want, whenever you want. Restrictions can be placed on travel with both parents. You may also stipulate that you need to know the itinerary before you grant permission for a trip or at least before your child leaves.

If you have reason to believe that your co-parent or some other family member will take off with your child without telling you, you can seek strict requirements in your custody agreement regarding travel. In most cases, however, parents just want to be kept in the loop when their child is going to be traveling with their mom or dad.

Even if you have confidence that you and your co-parent can work out the logistics of traveling with the kids on an amicable basis, it's always best to have some guidelines in writing to refer to if there is a disagreement or conflict. Your Arizona family law attorney can help you with that.

Source: USA Today, "Family Law & Restrictions Regarding Vacation," Mike Broemmel, accessed Nov. 29, 2017

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