I have joint custody of my two children and would like to take them out of the state for a spring break trip. Do I have the right to do this?
While I am not licensed to practice law in your state and am unable to give you legal advice, I can give you some general observations on this issue based on the jurisdiction where I practice.
Where I do practice in Virginia, the rights of a parent to take the children out of town for vacation are set forth in the custody order.
If the custody order is silent on the issue, then the court will use a reasonableness standard. A reasonableness standard simply stated is: are the actions you are taking reasonable as a third party would view them?
So, if you travel out of town every year at this time, have given the mother adequate notice, and the mother has not objected then taking the children out of town would seem reasonable.
Remember, if your custody order speaks directly to out of town travel there is no reasonableness standard, you must always follow the order unless you and the other party agree in writing to do something contrary. A writing can be an email, text message, or letter.
The best way to protect yourself, if the order does not allow for out-of-state travel, is to have the mother agree to the travel in email. This way if she claims she did not agree, you have something that you can show.
Questions regarding child custody require a specialized knowledge of local law. For these reasons I would suggest you contact an attorney who specializes in family law matters in your jurisdiction.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than tips on these matters, so please contact an attorney in your jurisdiction to obtain specific advice as to the laws of your state and how they impact your case.
To arrange an initial consultation to discuss child custody rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Virginia divorce Lawyer Charles D. Hatley, contact Cordell & Cordell.