Are you planning a family vacation while the weather is nice and the kids are out of school? If you have a custody or visitation arrangement with your child’s other parent, you might be wondering how that plays into your planned vacation. The answer depends on your current order or agreement, and a few other things.
Texas Custody and Visitation Orders
The best first step is to consult your current court order or signed agreement, whether that’s a separation agreement, divorce decree, or custody order. There will probably be a section that discusses each parent’s responsibilities and rights for things like holidays and vacations. If so, you must abide by the terms set in the order. Exceptions are usually allowed with the express written permission of the other parent or in situations where an unavoidable or emergency occurs. It is adamant that you get consent from the other parent in writing if the two of you agree to something that is outside the court order.
However, overall, it’s a good idea to reference the order that is already in place to find out what you can and cannot do. If you have questions about your agreement or court order or would like assistance in modifying the terms, The Werner Law Group can be your custody and visitation advocate.
Amending the Terms
If necessary, you may be able to file a modification suit to an existing order with the help of a good family law attorney. Keep in mind, one-time vacations might not be a substantial enough reason to receive an amendment, but each case is determined individually, and an outcome cannot be predicted with exact certainty. Examples of vacations that may warrant an adjustment to the terms include:
- A consistent, predictably occurring trip.
- A trip with uncontrollable timing, such as for a camp or seminar; or
- Vacations that need specific time frames, like ten consecutive days.
Even if your desired vacation fits one of these descriptions, there is no guarantee that a judge will modify an existing visitation order. However, the idea is that trips you can control the timing of or that are not expected to repeat or continue in the future may not result in an amendment.
Additionally, as we’ve discussed in many of our articles, you should ask yourself, “How will this benefit my child?” A trip with educational value or a trip that gives a unique opportunity to mold a child at a pivotal age can make for a big win in court for you and your child.
Notifying the Other Parent
The current agreement or order is the best place for determining what stipulations there are for notifying your child’s other parent about your intentions for vacation. Texas Family Code includes complex rules for advance notice and how that affects which days each parent will have the child during summer break. However, the document outlining your current arrangement is a more accurate source of information for this, as it can sometimes be set for your specific situation. Please read this part of your order carefully, because many orders have a deadline as to when one parent must request specific days in advance, and if the parent doesn’t request those days by the deadline, a default schedule will be in place.
There are often conflicts during popular vacation times like spring and summer. Both you and your child’s other parent want to maximize your time with your child and provide fun, enriching experiences. That’s a good thing. Try to be flexible with each other and be prepared to offer alternate times or other workarounds in the event there is a conflict.
For assistance with your child visitation or other family law matters, The Werner Law Group is here to help. Do you have an immediate need for answers or guidance? Text Leslie at 361-648-6888.