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Don't let your parental rights float away in the tide

Many parents in Texas are looking forward to summer vacation. Perhaps you're among those who have already started making plans for a trip to the beach with your children. If you recently divorced, this year's trip may be a bit different from those you enjoyed in previous years. That doesn't necessarily mean it won't be wonderful, only that your plans may have to align with certain child custody regulations.

By researching laws ahead of time and being willing to cooperate to keep your children's best interests at heart, your first summer vacation as a single parent may be the start of many new and lasting traditions. Traveling with children after divorce may include one or more court-ordered stipulations.

Your rights travel with you wherever you go

Aside from knowing what's best for your children, you retain certain rights that are not negotiable no matter where you happen to be at the time. Unless the court has specifically stated you may not travel with children for some reason, you are free to make plans and go where you like although some of the following restrictions may apply:

  • It's not uncommon for the court to require a divorced parent to obtain written agreement from the other parent before traveling.
  • You may also need the court's express approval before you take your children on vacation.
  • While you may not have to tell your former spouses every single thing you plan to do on vacation with your kids, it's likely that you'll have to provide a general itinerary of their whereabouts.
  • It's also usually required that you make sure your children are able to communicate with their other parent at any time on vacation.
  • If you're going overseas, you may be ordered to return to the United States at a specific time.

It's easiest to avoid major child custody and visitation problems during summer vacation by clarifying the laws before you finalize your travel plans. This helps prevent negative surprises. The last thing you need while you and your children are surfing the waves is an angry phone call from an ex-spouse demanding you bring your children back home. Even though you may be well within your rights to travel, such situations can really put a damper on vacation fun.

Many Texas parents discuss their travel plans with their attorneys before departing. It's also always a good idea to keep an attorney's phone number with you at all times on vacation so you're able to obtain immediate assistance if a problem arises.

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