When you and your spouse are determining the custody and placement provisions of your Marital Settlement Agreement as part of your divorce action, don’t forget to address the possibility of your children’s out of state travel or out of the country travel during your or your spouse’s placement. The answer will depend on the terms of the Judgment of Divorce, which is either determined by the Court or by mutual agreement of you and your spouse. Your divorce agreement should include all or some of the following provisions regarding travel with your children:
- Limits on the duration of any out of state or out of country travel.
- Limits on distance of travel whether in state, out of state or out of country.
- Complete itinerary including flights, hotels, etc.
- Phone numbers, email addresses, etc.
- Passport availability for the child(ren); who holds the passport?
- Ability to fly without adult companion. Check with the airline for any travel requirements.
- Notice requirements.
- Make sure your children have identification on their person.
- Make sure your children have information detailing where you can be reached including cell phone, email address, third-party contact, work number, etc.
- It is strongly recommended that the children have a note from the non-traveling parent “acknowledging that my ex-spouse is traveling out of the country with my child ‘Sam.’ My ex-spouse has my permission to do so.” Get the note notarized.
- Some countries require more official documentation from the parent who is not traveling with the children. Know the requirements in advance.
- A medical release is a good idea for minor children.
- If your children are going to miss school, advise their teachers and get any necessary homework.
Hopefully you and your spouse can cooperate relative to traveling with your children. It’s fun to go to Disneyland or to Wisconsin Dells or to Grandma’s house in Colorado or to visit the Eiffel Tower in France, but there have to be perimeters on travel that apply across the board to both parties. If there is ever a fear that the children will be taken across state lines or out of the country without notice or permission, try to address these issues in advance, rather than after the fact. Contact a Wisconsin custody attorney for assistance.