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What to Know About Child Custody and Travel

The end of summer is approaching. Many kids are already back in school, but there’s still time for one last vacation before the cooler weather hits. Labor Day weekend—one of the busiest travel weekends of the year—will be here soon. More than 35 million Americans traveled during Labor Day weekend in 2015.

Traveling outside of the state can be a fun and exciting experience for families. However, if you’re divorced and sharing child custody with your children’s mother or father, making travel plans can be complicated.

While traveling around town and in other parts of the state is generally acceptable, things get more complex once you cross state lines. Parents are not allowed to leave New York with their child unless they either have a court order or permission from the other parent. This is to not only ensure that the best interests of the child are at heart, but also to protect the parenting rights of both parents.

Without the required permission in place, a parent is considered to be in contempt of the court for violating a custody order. He or she can also face criminal charges for crimes such as kidnapping. Don’t let this happen to you. Make sure you have everything in order before you vacation with the kids.

Notification and Communication

There are family laws restricting vacations among children of divorce. Custodial parents do not have the right to take their children everywhere they please. Even if the other parent has minimal visitation rights, he or she has the right to know if you plan to take the child out of state.

If you plan to leave the state with your child, you must give the other parent reasonable notice. This depends on the situation, such as the length of the trip. You may be required to give a few weeks or even a month’s notice, but you typically cannot inform the other parent the day before the trip.

Besides given notice of the vacation, the other parent should be in possession of emergency contact information as well as an itinerary of the trip. This gives the other parent a general idea of what you’ll be doing and when so that you can be located in the event of an emergency.

The vacation ideally should take place at a time when it does not interfere with the other parent’s visitation time with the child. However, this is not always possible. It’s important, then, to ensure the other parent gets to spend time with the child before or after the vacation to make up for the lost time.

Work with an Experienced Divorce Lawyer in Brooklyn

Child custody issues can be complex, especially when you are sharing custody with the other spouse. It’s important to know that there are restrictions when it comes to traveling with the kids, particularly if you plan to go outside of New York. By ignoring these laws, you could get in legal trouble and face criminal charges.

Make sure you travel with your children the right way by contacting Brooklyn divorce lawyer Theodore Alatsas ESQ. He can help you with child custody issues following a divorce and ensure that you follow the laws. Contact our office at (718) 233-2903 for a free consultation.