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Can I travel with my child post-divorce?

There are only a few months left in the school year. Now is an ideal time for you and your ex to begin discussing summer vacation arrangements if you haven’t done so already.

When you share joint custody of your child with your co-parent, you have to take certain details into account when making travel plans for the summer.

What does your parenting plan say?

Parents must generally sit down and reach an agreement about how they plan to share custody of their kids. They must document how they’ll handle holidays, school breaks, vacations and emergencies in this document known as a parenting plan. 

It’s highly likely that your parenting plan has some guidance about vacations and travel. Ideally, it will address how much advance notice you’re required to give your ex-spouse about an upcoming vacation and how long they have to make any objections. Your parenting plan may also address how far you can travel with your child from home, whether it’s just within a certain radius of Des Moines, around Iowa, throughout surrounding states or anywhere else.

Do you need any special paperwork to travel?

Your parenting plan may also detail whether your co-parent consents to the other securing a passport on their child’s behalf so that they can take an international trip. You should also research the locale that you’re planning to visit to see if they require you to appear with a signed letter from your child’s other parent to travel as well. 

How do you handle travel conversations with your ex-spouse?

Be proactive in discussing travel with your ex as early on as you can in the planning process. That alone can ease tensions, prevent conflicts in your schedule, help you negotiate a “trade” with your parenting time (if the vacation plans interfere with your ex-spouse’s custody time) and avoid wasted money.

Be prepared to tell your ex how they can keep in contact with your child while you’re away. While you may not relish the idea of giving your ex an itinerary, it may be necessary if you’re gone for more than a day or so.

You may find Iowa custody discussions to be quite tense, especially when they involve such factors as long-distance traveling or relocations. A family law attorney can help you negotiate an initial parenting plan and any modifications needed down the line in your Des Moines case.