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Taking Last Minute Vacations With Your Child, Post Divorce

Posted on in Children and Divorce

Before you and your spouse got a divorce, you loved taking last minute vacations to the Gulf Coast, or going on spontaneous road trips to the Grand Canyon, and even though you and her are now divorced, your love for spontaneity has not changed. You are tempted to pick up and go-with your child, of course-on your next adventure, but then you wonder: Do you need permission from your child's other parent first? The answer is yes. This is especially true if you plan on crossing state or international borders, as you may need several forms of identification-including proof of mailing address-to get back home.

Taking a trip with a child almost always involves extensive planning, but if you are a divorced parent, 'almost' becomes 'always.' However, this is for both yours and your child's safety. These rules were put in place to protect children from kidnapping, and to prevent you from being charged with kidnapping. For these reasons, consider these common issues parents face when planning travel with kids post divorce.

Parental Interference

There may be a number of issues that your child's other parent might not agree to a last minute vacation. Those can include, fear, jealousy of a new partner, or residual anger from the separation. In some instances, the other parent may just have other plans for that weekend. To avoid any of these complications, always refer to your parenting plan for guidance. Most parenting agreements outline rules for vacations. For instance, the judge may have included a stipulation that neither parent can say no to a vacation so long as arrangements were made and the other parent notified three months in advance. Unfortunately, most custody agreements will read something like this unless you and your former spouse specifically requested a clause stating otherwise, which means that last minute travel is likely out of the question for you for now.


Most summer parenting schedules dictate that each parent gets one week/one week off with the child. This gives you seven whole days to take a vacation with them. However, what is you want to go on a cruise that lasts for 10 days instead of your seven? Put your negotiation skills to use and ask your child's other parent if you can trade days. If they let you have the additional three days this time, you must be willing to compromise three of your days in the future.

Travel to Foreign Countries

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, if a child is accompanied by only one parent, that parent should have a note from the child's other parent approving of the trip. Depending on the state of your relationship with your child's other parent, this can either be very easy or very difficult to obtain. Unfortunately, there is no way that you can leave the country with your child without this 'permission slip.'

Let a Knowledgeable Dallas Custody Attorney Help

The best way to ensure that you can travel with your child where and when you want is to include a clause in your custody agreement that states that you can. However, most divorcing parents are rarely ever willing to allow 'wherever, whenever' vacation time. If you hope to take vacations with your child, you just need to learn to plan those vacations on your time, and to plan in advance. If you have any questions about whether or not you are overstepping your boundaries-or if your child's other parent is overstepping theirs-reach out to the Dallas custody attorneys at the Clark Law Group for guidance today.

(image courtesy of Delfi de la Rua)

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