No matter how long you have been in the United States, you may still enjoy returning to your home country to visit family, especially during the holidays. Perhaps you and your spouse took this trip on numerous occasions, eventually bringing the children along. It may have seemed like an adventure to all involved, and you likely enjoyed sharing this part of your past with the most important people in your life.
Since your divorce, however, your trips back to your native country may feel even more important to you. In fact, you may be looking forward to this holiday season when you and the children will travel together and spend some time bonding. However, before you purchase plane tickets or announce your plans to the children, you would be wise to review your custody orders and other critical factors.
Before you buy your tickets
Your divorce and subsequent custody orders placed certain restrictions on your ability to travel with the children. You no longer have the luxury of picking up and taking off without considering the limitations within your parenting plan. Violating the court order related to your parenting rights can be a serious legal matter, and your ex-spouse may even have cause to seek criminal charges against you. To improve the chances of having a stress-free holiday with your kids, take the following precautions:
- Re-read your parenting agreement to see if there are any restrictions that affect you, such as the amount of time you may have custody of the children or the distance you may take them from their Washington home.
- Check your parenting schedule to be certain the time you will be away with the children will not conflict with time allotted to their other parent.
- Discuss your plans with your ex to learn if he or she has any reservations about the children traveling to another country with you.
- Assuming everything is in your favor, write out your itinerary for your ex, including information about your flight, where you will be staying and every important detail about the trip.
- Make sure you have the appropriate valid identification for the children, which may include getting your ex’s permission to obtain passports for them.
Ideally, you and your ex have good communication, and you can discuss any schedule conflicts and perhaps swap times so you can take your trip. However, if your ex refuses to support your plans to leave the country with the children, you may have no choice but to cancel your plans. Before you make any final decisions about traveling with your children over the holidays, you may wish to obtain some reliable information about your custody rights by reaching out to an attorney.