Traveling out of state with your child when you have joint custody

As a parent, you’re pretty used to having a considerable amount of freedom regarding where you go with your children — but traveling takes on new complications once you’re separated or divorced from your co-parent and you have a joint custody agreement.

If you have joint custody with your ex-spouse, you both share parental responsibilities equally. It means that you cannot proceed with some actions involving the children without first getting your co-parent’s consent. That usually includes out-of-state travel.

What you need to know

Usually, your custody order outlines the requirements for such travel arrangements, so check that first before you make any plans. That can tell you how far you can go without special consent from your co-parent or the court.

It may not be compulsory, but it is important to inform your co-parent about the details of your trip, including locations you plan to visit, the duration of your visit, and contact numbers they can use to reach you or the children. Such acts of good faith may work in your favor should anything come up concerning the out-of-state travel under the terms of your joint custody plan.

Sometimes, permission to travel out of the local area may require a court order, especially if both parents cannot reach a consensus. If that is the case, ensure that you comply with the court’s orders and only travel as allowed. That could save you a lot of legal headaches (and the custody of your children).

Protect your parental rights

As stated earlier, parents with shared custody generally have to work together to accommodate their children’s needs and the other party’s interests. If you feel like you are getting the shorter end of the stick and your co-parent is infringing on your parental rights, it may be necessary to take action and protect your parent-child relationship in court.