Planning a family vacation can get complicated even without custody agreements to work around, so it's no surprise that summer sees an uptick in the number of disputes that end up heading to family court.
In order to stay out of family court this summer, make the following tips part of your vacation plans:
1. Review your custody agreement before you start planning.
Forgetting what's in the custody agreement is probably the biggest mistake that parents make. It's great to plan a trip to Disney but you don't want to announce that to the kids if your custody agreement says you can't take them out of state without the other parent's agreement (unless you already have that agreement -- in writing). Similarly, the Canadian Falls has long been a favorite trip for family vacations, but your custody agreement may not allow you to take the kids out of the country. If you want to do anything that violates your custody agreement, you're going to need some legal paperwork to make it happen.
2. Plan your trip ahead of time and get the court's approval.
You may prefer to follow the road wherever it takes you, but you can't do that when you have a custody agreement in place. Set down and figure out your plans, put them in writing and see if your kids' other parent is agreeable. You may need the help of an attorney to then submit them to the court for approval, but once the judge has signed off on the plans you won't have to worry about being charged with custodial interference.
3. Realize that a temporary change in custody doesn't entitle you to any other changes.
If you're planning a trip that will last most of a month and your kids' other parent is willing to allow it, that's fantastic -- but it doesn't automatically change your child support obligation for that period of time. One of the hardest concepts for divorced parents to grasp is that support and custody are two separate legal issues. If you need to request a modification of support for a month, go through the proper channels in court.
For more information on summer custody concerns or similar issues, please contact an attorney. Visit our page if you'd like more information on how we may be able to meet your needs in this area.