Allen family lawyers often talk to divorced or separated parents who are uncertain about whether they need permission from their ex to take their child on vacation. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question because many factors affect the legal rights and requirements of the parties involved. 

The safest approach for parents who have concerns is to discuss the situation with their attorney. However, we can offer some general guidelines and factors to consider before taking a child on vacation. 

Dealing With Timing Issues May Be Difficult on Your Own 

One of the first issues that impacts a parent’s ability to take a child away for a trip is whether the court has issued a custody order also referred to as a conservatorship order. Before a custody order is in place, a court has nothing to enforce, and both parents have equal rights to access and “possession” of a child. Either parent can make decisions on behalf of the child or take the child without consent from the other parent. This can be a frightening prospect for many parents, so it is advisable to consult knowledgeable Allen family lawyers for assistance if you are concerned about what another parent might do during this time. 

After the court has entered a custody order, the terms of the order will establish many of the rights and restrictions regarding a child’s permanent location. Sometimes, the order may also contain restrictions on the ability to remove a child from the area on vacation or require a parent to provide written notice regarding an itinerary. However, in many situations, the only requirement for travel is that it must occur during a parent’s legal time of possession with the child.  

Location Matters That Allen Family Lawyers Can Help Resolve

Taking a child on a camping trip at a park an hour away is not the same as taking a child on safari in South Africa. Even if the terms of a custody order do not contain restrictions on or requirements for travel, Allen family lawyers still recommend that parents consider the details of a proposed trip. 

For instance, for one parent to remove a child from the U.S., they must often have the other parent’s consent. U.S. Customs and Border Protection “strongly recommends” that a parent carry a signed note from the other parent acknowledging that the parent is traveling abroad with the child and has permission to do so. The agency notes that while this documentation is not always required by U.S. laws, it may be required by the laws of the destination country. In addition, both parents must consent for a minor to obtain a passport, unless the parent applying for the passport can prove they have sole legal custody of the child.

One final concern regarding location is that a parent should be aware of the legal consequences of taking a child to a location that is not “safe.” Visiting an unsafe location or engaging in dangerous activities while on vacation could reflect on a parent’s fitness and lead to a custody modification or even result in criminal charges under child endangerment statutes.

Consult Our Allen Family Lawyers About Custody and Visitation Concerns

Whether you are a parent questioning your ability to take a child on vacation or you want to prevent another parent from taking unreasonable risks with your child, the first step is to seek legal guidance. Our experienced Allen family lawyers can review your circumstances, explain your rights and obligations, and help you achieve your goals. For a confidential, free consultation, contact us today.