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Shared Custody and Out-of-State Travel: Is Permission Needed?

After a divorce, it can feel as though complications and unexpected hiccups happen every other day. Something that used to be simple enough, like planning a vacation, is now much more elaborate.

If you have recently been divorced, you may have a plethora of unanswered questions. In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about traveling out of state when you share custody of your children.

Can I Travel Out of State or Abroad?

Sharing custody of your child shouldn’t limit the activities you are allowed to participate in as a family. But before you book your dream vacation, take a moment to look over your custody order and parenting plan. Does it specify how travel should be approached?

Many custody agreements have vacation clauses that outline how to notify the other parent of upcoming travel. They may even specify limits regarding what you can and cannot do. If your custody agreement has rules specifically for vacations, you’ll have to obey those or petition the court for a change.

Do I Need Any Extra Documentation?

If your agreement does allow you to travel out of state with your child or children, that doesn’t mean you can simply pack your bags and go. In most situations, you will need to compile documentation informing the co-parent of relevant details.

In particular, you will need to provide documentation that answers these questions:

  • Who will be traveling with you and your child?
  • How can the co-parent contact you if necessary?
  • Where are you planning to travel to?
  • How long will you be traveling?

If possible, you should also provide the co-parent with a detailed itinerary. Then, have a notary public on-site as both you and the co-parent sign the document.

What If the Co-Parent and I Can’t Come to an Agreement?

In some cases, the custody agreement will require that the other co-parent signs off on your travel plans. If that is the case, you can not leave the state without express permission from the co-parent. Doing so will put you in contempt of court and could jeopardize your custodial rights.

If you and the co-parent cannot come to an agreement about your travel plans, contact an attorney. It may be time to petition the court for a modification of your custody agreement.

What If I Want to Move Out of State with My Child?

In Michigan, the law states that you cannot move out of state if you share joint custody of a child. However, you are allowed to move within 100 miles (as long as you stay in Michigan) from where you lived at the time the custody arrangement was agreed upon.

If you have sole legal custody, you may move out of the state — but only after you have received permission from the court.

When Should I Call Gucciardo Family Law?

Call our office if you need help understanding your custody agreement or if your child’s co-parent is making travel difficult. Gucciardo Family Law offers free new client consultations and will be happy to discuss your situation.

Too much information?

We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.

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