Vacation Travel and Custody Orders

Before you know it, it will be the last day of school. Soon most school-aged children will be on Summer Break. When planning summer travel, if you are a parent who shares custody of your children, there are a few things you should consider.

Do you have a custody Order in place? Does your parenting schedule change during the summer months? Do you intend to travel domestically or internationally?

For parents with a custody Order, you should review it for any changes to the parenting schedule, and for any deadlines or restrictions regarding summer vacation weeks. Some custody Orders have a school-year schedule and a summer schedule. Even if you have been abiding by your custody Order for some time now, review it to confirm the upcoming summer schedule and when it starts and stops.

Some Orders require parents to select their weeks for summer vacation by a particular date. If a parent fails to notify the other parent of their preferred week and there is a conflict, your preference may not prevail. Absent an agreement with the other parent, you may be required to select an alternative week for vacation. Remember to read the entire Order, as there may be additional provisions that prevent parents from taking consecutive weeks of summer vacation or may preclude parents from taking the week following the end of the school year and/or the week proceeding the start of school. Also, be sure to understand when your summer vacation week begins and ends. For example, your summer vacation week may go from Saturday to Saturday instead of Sunday to Sunday. Generally, summer parenting time replaces regular parenting time and the regular schedule will resume but does not reset after a parent’s vacation.

Orders typically do not require a parent’s consent for the other parent to travel with his or her children. However, it is likely your Order requires the traveling parent to provide notice and some information, such as the dates of travel, the address where the child will be staying, and a telephone number to reach the child during the trip. If you are traveling by plane, your Order may also require you to provide the flight itinerary. A specific amount of advance notice for travel may be required (e.g., one week before the start of your trip). Be sure to pay close attention to and abide by any time frames for notice in your Order.

When travelling internationally, there may be additional steps for you to take, such as obtaining a passport for your children. If your children do not have passports, you should apply for a passport well in advance of your travel plans. When applying for a passport for a child who is under the age of sixteen, the application must be submitted in person and the child must be present. Although both parents should appear with the child, if both parents cannot be present, there are additional document requirements. In addition to the documents, a copy of the front and back of the non-applying parent’s government-issued photo identification (e.g., a driver’s license) must be submitted with the application. To obtain a passport you must be sure to comply with all of the requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of State (https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html) and you should double check your Order to make sure you are complying with any other requirements.

If you do not have a custody Order or you have questions about your Order, contact our Family Law team today.

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