I’m Getting Divorced. Can I Travel with My Kids? That is a common question that comes up this time of year. Parents want to know if they can travel with their children outside of Arizona if they have a divorce or legal separation pending in the Court. Having a divorce or legal separation pending comes with it an automatic restriction on children’s travel. That doesn’t mean that travel is out of the question, though. The secret to managing this issue, like many issues in Family Court, is to plan ahead.
The Preliminary Injunction is a document that is issued and served at the beginning of every dissolution and legal separation case in Arizona. Among its many requirements is a restriction banning travel outside of Arizona for kids common to the parties involved in the case while the case is pending. Travel is permitted, however, with written agreement by both parties or Court order.
If you think you and your spouse can agree on travel arrangements for the holidays (or any time while the case is pending), it can be simply resolved even just by email. The email should include, at a minimum, the dates of travel, where the children will be going, and basic itinerary information (such as flight numbers, hotel names, addresses, and phone numbers). The non-traveling parent can communicate their agreement by a responsive email. No document has to be filed in the Court to memorialize the agreement. In cases where both parties have attorneys involved, it is most common to have these details and agreements worked out in communications between counsel. The bottom line is that it does not have to be formal or difficult if everyone can work together.
If you cannot reach an agreement with your spouse, it may be necessary to ask the Court to grant your request for travel. Reasonable requests for travel are very often granted. Usually, the Court will want to see (or will order) that the non-traveling parent gets parenting time in amount consistent with what the traveling parent will be exercising. The Court will also want to see (or will order) that the non-traveling parent will exercise that holiday the following year to begin an odd/even-year rotation common among holiday parenting plans.
The problem with having to ask the Court for assistance is that the Court gets inundated with these requests come December and, since judges are people with families, too, judges are sometimes unavailable around the holidays. That is why starting the conversation about holiday parenting time should happen as early as possible (October is a good goal!).
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding I’m Getting Divorced. Can I Travel with My Kids?, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Lindsay A.M. Olivarez at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.