Many families treasure summer as a time to travel, whether to visit family or embark on adventures. Divorced, divorcing, or separated parents face custody concerns that should be considered when making travel plans to avoid unnecessary stress and litigation. These include:
- Standard Family Law Restraining Orders. These orders, formerly known as Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders (“ATROS”), are contained in the Summons that must be filed/served at the start of a case. They include a restriction that neither party may remove the minor child(ren) from the state without the prior written consent of the other parent or an order of the court.
- Put Your Agreement In Writing. If you and the other parent have an agreement regarding travel outside of the state or country, put it in writing! While a signed, notarized letter may suffice, the safest option is to prepare a Stipulation that is filed with the court.
- Existing Court Order or Custody Agreement. If there is an existing child custody court order or child custody agreement, it should have a provision regarding travel outside of the state and/or country. You should continue to comply with any existing order or agreement until it is revised.
- Transparency Helps. Provide the other parent with as much information as possible – flight itinerary, hotel information, etc. This will assure them that you will return and they know how to reach you in case of an emergency.
- Consult an Experienced Family Law Attorney. A violation of custody orders can have serious consequences. If you are considering traveling, you should consult with a family law attorney experienced in child custody law in California.
Before you tell your child(ren) about your summer travel plans, you should consider these concerns and ensure there is an agreement if the travel is not allowed under the current child custody orders or child custody agreement.