Traveling with Children Post-Divorce in Texas: What You Need to Know


Going through a divorce is difficult enough, but it can become even more complicated when children are involved. One common question that arises for parents after a divorce is whether they need permission from their ex-spouse to take their child out of town. In this blog post, we'll discuss custody laws in Texas and provide tips for planning vacations with your children post-divorce.

The Basics of Child Custody in Texas

Under Texas Family Code, the legal terms used for child custody and visitation matters are "conservatorship," "possession," and "access." For example, most divorced parents share what is called "joint managing conservatorship," meaning they share the rights and responsibilities of parenthood with each other. Joint managing conservatorship and possession orders will vary depending on each family's situation. Parents will also receive a standard possession order.

According to Sec. 153.007, parents are required to enter an agreed parenting plan. This parenting plan is designed to "promote the amicable settlement of disputes between the parties to a suit, the parties may enter into a written agreed parenting plan containing provisions for conservatorship and possession of the child and for modification of the parenting plan, including variations from the standard possession order."

Many parents use their parenting plan to outline provisions for travel, including how parenting time schedules may change during long school breaks, as well as when parents are required to obtain consent for travel. This is the first place you should look when determining whether you need your co-parent's permission to take your child out of town.

Developing Rules & Guidelines for Traveling with Your Children Post-Divorce

Unless otherwise stated in a court order, both parents are allowed to travel with their children during their periods of possession or visitation. This means that if it is your scheduled time to have your child, you can take them on a trip without having to obtain the other parent's permission. However, if you plan to travel during the other parent's time with the child, you will need to get their approval beforehand.

It is highly recommended that you include a provision in your parenting plan stating that parents must obtain written permission from the other parent before taking a child out of town. This helps ensure that both parents are aware of travel plans and can take the necessary steps to prepare for the child's absence. This provision can also help prevent any misunderstandings or disagreements regarding travel plans.

However, it is important to note that there may be exceptions to this rule. For instance, if there is an emergency situation that requires immediate travel, obtaining written permission may not be possible. It is a good idea to outline some key definitions, such as what constitutes an emergency where written authorization is not required, as well as what is meant by "out-of-town" travel.

Tips for Planning Summer Travel Post-Divorce

As newly divorced parents, it's important to plan your vacations with your children carefully. Proper planning and communication with your ex-spouse are key to ensuring a successful vacation. When discussing travel plans, it's essential to provide detailed itineraries and contact information so that your ex-spouse is always aware of your child's whereabouts. It's important to remember that conflicts with your ex-spouse regarding travel plans may arise, and it's essential to remain calm and try to compromise.

Remember that the ultimate goal is to provide the best experience for yourself and your children, and by planning ahead and communicating effectively, you can do just that.

Do You Need Help with a Co-Parenting Travel Dispute?

Traveling with children post-divorce requires careful consideration and planning, especially when it comes to custody arrangements. Understanding the rules and regulations surrounding travel with children can help parents avoid conflicts and ensure a smooth vacation. If you're unsure about your custody arrangements or have concerns about traveling with your children, consult with an experienced family law attorney who can provide guidance and support.

Contact the Law Office of Johnson & Gaskill PLLC to schedule a consultation with one of our family law attorneys today. We are here to help you and your family develop a strong co-parenting dynamic and are ready to guide you in dealing with co-parenting disputes.

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