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Should you include travel limitations in your parenting plan?

Developing a thorough parenting plan is one of the most important steps in a Colorado divorce. You and your ex will either need to set your own terms or allow the courts to make some of the most important decisions on your behalf. Regardless of which approach you take, you will have to decide what issues are most important to address and enforce.

For some families, concerns about travel come up early in the custody proceedings. Perhaps one parent has ties in another state that would make it easy for them to relocate there. Maybe your ex just has a history of erratic and unpredictable behavior.

It's natural to worry about being cut off from or alienated from your children in divorce, and worries about parental kidnapping are one form that the concern takes. In order to keep your ties to your children safe, you may want to consider adding a travel limitation to your parenting plan.

The courts can limit how far away either parent travels with the kids

Because every state has its own family laws, custody situations can become complicated quickly if one parent relocates to another state without the consent of the other. In order to limit the parental alienation that could result from such drastic moves, the courts will typically require a formal hearing if one parent wants to move or relocate more than a certain distance away with the children.

However, some people may simply use their parenting time or visitation as an opportunity to take their kids out of state and avoid enforcement of the parenting plan. To prevent that from being an issue, you can also ask the courts to restrict how far you and your ex can travel with the children during and after the divorce.

Requiring court approval for travel out of state is one way to protect your children from potential parental kidnapping. It also makes it easier to secure legal assistance in another state if your ex does take your children out of Colorado without your permission or the court's permission.

Restrictions on travel may not work for all families

Many families enjoy traveling for vacations, and that could make a restriction on travel difficult or prohibitive. If you or your ex have a tendency to take vacations that involve travel to other states or countries, you may not want to have to go to court every time you want to travel. Provided that you and your ex have mutual respect and trust regarding the safety of your children, you don't necessarily need to include restrictions on travel in your parenting plan.

If you are uncertain of whether this issue is something you should address, you might want to talk with your attorney about your family's dynamics and your concerns. From there, you can make an informed decision about how to best protect your children.

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