Taking vacations out of state without the other parent’s permission

Question:mens divorce lawyer

I am trying to go on vacation out of state with my daughter, who I have primary physical placement, for spring break.

My ex will not give me the permission I need to leave with her and has threatened to call the police if I do attempt to leave. I’ve even offered to give her the full information as to where we would be staying, contact information, etc.

Can I still take this trip without her permission?


It is very difficult for me to give you an answer to your question about taking your daughter on vacation without knowing what the physical placement arrangement is between you and your daughter’s mother.

Though you have primary physical placement, you could be held in contempt or she could file an enforcement motion against you if you will be gone during times when she is to have placement during the week you are gone.

Many placement orders have a provision regarding the parents being able to take a vacation of a certain number of consecutive days with notice to the other party. Check your order to see if you have this sort of language.

You should document that you have provided her with the details of the trip and requested to take your daughter with you.

If you do go and she does file an action against you in family court, you can attempt to show that you had provided the details of the trip to her and she was being unreasonable in refusing to let you go.

Please note that there are a number factors that play into the reasonable of a situation, and I cannot advise you of whether she is or is not being unreasonable without more information.

Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located nationwide.


Trisha B. Festerling is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices family law exclusively. Ms. Festerling’s practice is focused on men’s divorce, child support, child custody, paternity and modification. She is licensed in the state of Wisconsin. Ms. Festerling received her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice with a focus on Political Science, Magna cum Laude, from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She received her Juris Doctor from Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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8 comments on “Taking vacations out of state without the other parent’s permission

    My fiances son is four months old. His last name is not on the birth certificate, but he has been taking care of his child. He has sent her money for him each month and bought the child everything it needs. Up until now we have not had any issues getting the baby, but now his mother does not want us to see him. She is a hound mother with no job and a bad home. We on the other hand are much better off, now she is trying to keep him from us and take him out of state. Is there anything we can do to keep her from taking him without my fiances last name being on the birth certificate?

    Establishing Paternity To Get Custody
    Rights of Unwed Fathers To Seek Custody: http://www.dadsdivorce.com/articles/rights-of-unwed-fathers-to-seek-child-custody.html

    How To Establish Paternity: http://www.dadsdivorce.com/articles/how-to-establish-paternity.html

    The most important thing you can do at this point is to ensure that you have established paternity of your son.

    When a child is born during a marriage it is presumed to be the child of the husband. When a child is born out of wedlock, there is no presumption to who is the father.

    If you are an unwed father, you must establish paternity to at least prove you are the child’s father, though it doesn’t automatically give you rights regarding custody and visitation.

    1. Get on the birth certificate. Once your child is born, the easiest way to establish paternity is by getting your name on the birth certificate. (I know, easier said then done for most of you but it’s worth a shot.)

    Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) forms are also available for fathers to sign at the hospital at the time of the child’s birth.

    If the mother refuses to provide your name at the time the baby is born or you don’t sign the VAP, you should contact your state’s Department of Records to obtain information on how to complete the form on your own.

    2. Get an order through an administrative agency. Administrative agencies (such as Child Support Enforcement) can be helpful during the initial stages of your paternity action by assisting you with filling out forms and helping you obtain a DNA test to establish that you are the father of the child.

    3. Get a court order. In my opinion, this is the best method of establishing paternity. To do so, you must file a Petition for Paternity and Child Custody with your local Circuit Court or Family Court. The court will then order a paternity test or look to see if the father is listed on the birth certificate to determine whether paternity has been established.

    A court order will generally include a parenting plan outlining custody, visitation and other important aspects involved in the general upbringing of your child. Without the parenting plan, an unwed father is left at the mercy of the mother of the child.

    Once paternity is established and you end up involved in a custody battle, then a decision will be based on the best interests of the child standard.

    Here is a general list of what the courts use to analyze the best interests of the child:

    The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.
    The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.
    The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care.
    The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
    The permanence of the existing or proposed home or homes.
    The moral fitness of the parties involved.
    The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
    The home, school, and community record of the child.
    The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
    The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent of the child and parents.
    Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
    Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to the particular family.

    You will find the same or similar factors in most states.

    Cordell & Cordell represents men in divorce nationwide: http://www.cordellcordell.com/

    Out of State
    My ex wife is trying to take my kids out of state over summer vacation. The way my visitations are set up is that I have them every other weekend, and half of all their vacations & breaks. We have joint custody. She did not tell me she was trying to take them out of state I found it on the facebook page of her sister, and my ex wife saying that she and the kids would be leaving out of state. She is also trying to do this on the week that I am supposed to have them, several times she has denied my visitations w/o providing doctor statements of them being contagious (which is also court ordered) I have called the police and made reports of when she has and I feel like she is going to try and deny my visitation again. I am pretty sure that they have already booked flights for this vacation as stated on the facebook page. Can she still take them even though she has booked flights and hasn’t told me or asked? I am going to try and fight this because I do not find it fair and she is always going against court orders. I have asked her before to let me take them out of state and she has refused (documented in emails) she even refused to let them attend my wedding! What should I do? And can she do this anyways?

    Step daughter’s mother takes her out of state without permission for trips/vacations
    My step daughter’s mother and my husband have shared custody. We have her one week and then she goes to her mom’s for a week. In the court papers it states that you must have written consent to take the child out of state for any purpose. Her mother has taken her once before and we only found out after they got back.

    We took her out of state last year for vacation. We planned on staying with my relatives and she demanded we give her all the names, addresses/phone numbers of all the people we will be staying with. I felt that my family’s personal info is not something she should be privileged. She had the address of my mother’s, but no names and numbers since she had both cell numbers for myself and my husband. She refused consent because it was not sufficient information for her and then proceeded to tell my step daughter we didn’t want her to go on vacation with us which is why we refused to provide a list of my family’s names & contact info. We ended up getting a hotel & provided her with that instead.

    This year we hear her mother has events out of state to attend (family reunions/weddings etc.) we are pretty sure she will take her out of state again for these events without our consent. Is there a way to prevent this? Or what legal actions are we able to take in Colorado?

    If my child was taken out of state by her father who I was never married to and I know address, do I file family court papers in home state or state he moved to? We’ve never established court custody. We shared visitation before he took off with her. I finally have an address he lives with her at. What should I do? And make sure he can’t avoid being served? Please help!

    My son it’s 8 years old I was granted sole custody do to my ex being violent has a restraining order and supervised visits he never went to the program or have bother to be on our sons life for the past 8 years. my son wants to go visit Mexico with my mother if I have sole custody can I give him permission to leave the state with out letting the dad know or do I still need his permission ?

    I am 50 and have two children, recently my wife told me that she was in love with someone she met on line. The talk of going to new Jersey and seeing if it would work. She said something about taking the kids with her. My fear is that she won’t come back. What can I do.

    My ex is taking my 13 year old out of the state of Florida for a “family” vacation during 4 days of school. We have a shared parenting plan 50/50 but she will be missing 4 days of school and he does not have my consent. Do i need to contact an attorney now or what happens if he takes her without my permission.

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