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How Custody Agreements Affect Vacation Plans

Posted on in Child Custody

Vacation is a part of life in the United States.  Whether it is a “staycation”, weekend away, or an overseas excursion, vacations are crucial for individuals and families to relax and unwind. However, if you have a custody agreement, you need to know whether your parenting plan allows for vacation plans with your children.

Are Your Travel Plans Part of the Agreement?

Before planning your trip, it’s essential to check your child custody agreement. Your custody orders may have restrictions or certain obligations before taking your trip. Some of these restrictions include:

  • International trip
  • Out-of-state trip
  • Overnight travel
  • Traveling with non-family members

But checking your agreement is not about seeing what you can’t do for a vacation. It’s a guide to help you better understand planning your trips. The last thing you want is to experience disappointment and cancel your plans because you can’t go through with your arrangements due to your custody agreement.

Communicate With Your Ex-spouse

One of the essential pieces to planning your vacation is to speak with the other parent about your plans. Even if you plan on taking your children on a trip during your scheduled parenting time, you must communicate with your ex.

Whether you’re planning summer vacations, international vacations, or domestic trips, it’s beneficial to communicate with the co-parent. Here’s some information you need to share, so everyone is knowledgeable about the trip and feels safe:

  • Destination (domestic or international)
  • Driving, flying, or by train?
  • Stops along the way (if taking a long road trip)
  • Departure and arrival (exact dates)
  • Where you are staying–provide address and phone number
  • Contact information for all adults on the trip

Providing this information is less about feeling micromanaged and more about planning for worst-case scenarios. Your ex-spouse should be able to contact you or your child in the event of an emergency, like a death in the family, a car accident, or anything else that might unexpectedly happen.  This information may be required in your order for international travel.

Additionally, open communication between parents ensures an enjoyable trip for the children and displays mature communication skills that are a teaching model for your child. When you establish trust between parents and child, your child feels much more at ease about the trip.


Vacations are fun for families to go out and escape daily responsibilities. They create beautiful memories and strengthen familial bonds. Vacations are a healthy part of life, so you must find out the best way to take a trip with your child if you have a custody arrangement.

At Hatton & Hatton, we know how to handle the complex nature of Family Law matters, and we realize that it can be emotional, challenging, and difficult for everyone. As family law attorneys, we value family and want to help cultivate strong relationships. So, if you need an experienced family law attorney to represent you or give advice regarding child custody and vacations, contact us today.

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