This time of year, with the holidays and the start of the New Year, parents often have travel plans, whether to see family from out of state or to take that vacation in February to escape the frigid weather. However, in situations involving child custody, extra thought, planning, and notice may need to be given to achieve low-stress travel.
The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines (ITPGs) offer helpful information about travel when custody is at issue. For example, for parents who live at a distance from one another, parenting time when that parent at a distance is in town should be given liberally1 So, for example, if mom lives in Georgia and is in Indiana for a week, give mom that extra time during the week, and let your children make the most of mom’s time in town.
But what about when you want to take the child out of state? The first order of business is to notify the other parent. This will ensure that there are no surprises, and plans are not halted at the last minute because one parent was unaware of out of state plans.
The IPTGs also address the issue of travel, and provide guidance as to what the travelling parent should provide. The parent travelling out of the area should provide either 1) an itinerary of travel dates, destinations, and places where the travelling child and/or parent can be reached or 2) the name and phone number of a third party who knows where the child and/or parent can be reached2.
Along with providing general notice, some travel companies require permission from the non-travelling parent for the child to travel. For example, if dad and the child are going on a cruise, the cruise line may require mom to sign a form, acknowledging she is aware of the travel and consents. This ensures that both parents are aware of the travel, especially if the parents share legal custody.
Travel out of the state and the country can cause stress if both parents are not on the same page. Communicate with the other parent before finalizing any travel plans. Provide details and a means to communicate with the travelling parent and/or child to allow peace of mind for the other parent. Also, be sure to review your Court Order. In some cases, travel restrictions are placed on one or both parents, making it impermissible for a parent to travel with the child out of state or out of the country. Be sure you are not violating a Court Order before you go.
We hope that this blog post has been informative about out of state travel. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. practices throughout the state of Indiana. This blog post was written by attorney, Jessica Keyes.