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

road tripQuestion:

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.

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

    So my son’s dad has a restraining order to be away from me and my son.. But we leave to mexico in about a week and was wondering if I still needed to get a permission letter even if there was no way I can contact him due to the order. Also he is not on my son’s birth certificate but he does have his dads last name, would that affect the process in any way?


    I live in CA and my son lives in Huntersville, NC. He and his wife are divorcing and it is my son’s understanding he can’t come to CA to visit unless his soon to be ex-wife gives her consent.

    I have worked in Family Law at the Superior Court in CA, and generally speaking, as long as the parents notify each other of their vacations plans and allow the children to have phone contact with the other parent, there are no restrictions on parents taking their children out of State to visit family or for a vacation.

    Are the laws different in NC. Thank you so much for your help.

    My husband and I had temporary physical custody (while my step daughter (the mother) lived with us) of our Granddaughter. When mother tried to teammate the temp custody, My husband and I opposed and we went to court. She has sole custody returned to her. We didn’t ask for it, but the magistrate gave us visitation “by agreement of the parties” IF THERE NO AGREEMENT, we get v&c per local court schedule as if we are the non-residential parent. My step daughter and I don’t get along. She offered open/no schedule visitation, but I want the court schedule. I don’t want to deal with her if I don’t have to. Since we didn’t agree & follow the court schedule, we get her for all spring break. According to the parenting time papers, I have all the same parental rights as the non-residential parent. The mother is telling me we need permission to take our grandchild out of town and wants me to give her info. I don’t feel I have to according the parenting schedule. Can she refuse to let her child come with us on spring break? Also, mother says I can’t give permission for grandchild to stay somewhere else for a weekend on “our” weekend. I told her again, I don’t have to ask her permission for anything. What do I do? If she keeps demanding I ask for permission and give her information during “our” visits? She said she has a fundamental right to always know where her child is, but it doesn’t say that anywhere in the parenting time schedule. She doesn’t tell me everything she does with her daughter.

    My fiancé has a 4 yr old son who has his weekends /holidays / bday ect with him by court order .
    Recently his sons mom asked my fiancé is she could take him for 2 weeks to Mexico she got a legitimize letter from a public notary saying from what day to what day he was going etc. so he sign he agreed and said it was okay so he sign as long as she respects what he’s signing for which was 2 weeks only . She has now past the 2 weeks . In those 2 weeks she has only answered the phone for him to talk to him 2 times . . What can he do since she has gone over board about the time she was only going to take
    Him for ?
    Can he make a report ? …
    just to mention he has already made a few reports for her not following court orders .

    I have filed for primary custody of my daughter who mother has kept her from me for 3 years now it took me 2 years 2 find her and have her served now court is coming up next month and she want to take her out of state . What can I do . Can the cops stop her can child protective services stop her . I don’t have the 1000 in time to file the TRO there has to be a way to stop her from taking off with her again

    I have sole legal and physical custody, he is allowed “reasonable, supervised visitation at discretion” of me.

    I have plans to go out of town this weekend to see my boyfriend, and because I was unable to find an alternate supervisor (and he did not even try), I planned to take our son with me. Our son is 9.

    NC is having a fit, and wants to take me to court to contest the custody agreement – he doesn’t have a job, he lives in a camper that I gifted him when we separated, I have a good opportunity to either move into a better job or work from home for my current employer if I relocate. I’ve even spent time, effort, and money trying to insure that NC can move with me so we can keep current custody arrangement. (Every weekend and Wednesday evenings.)

    He is angry that I would cohabitate with my boyfriend if I move because I have spent nearly all of my savings – over $8000 – supporting him through the separation and divorce, and the only reason he has any money to hire a lawyer now is because he still has a few thousand left from his half of my 401k.

    I could understand this if he were a very religious or moral individual, but he has a criminal history, a history of drug abuse, and himself cohabited with me _even before my previous divorce was final_ and while I had joint custody of my then 9 year old daughter. It is all so hypocritical!

    This is a man who pulled a knife on someone and threatened to kill them in front of our son less than 2 weeks ago!! How can he possibly think that level of violence is okay, but that it is detrimental for our son to get to know my boyfriend – a man who has a well-paying career, a stable home life, and two adult stepchildren who adore him. Adult stepchildren into whose lives he entered when they were 11 and 14 – and they still ADORE him!!

    My SO and I are not married but we live together. I want to take my son out of state to Florida for a weekend. On the VAP, which we both signed at birth, it states that the mother has custody if we aren’t married, which is me. Can I proceed to take my child out of state even if my SO disagrees? He says he will file parental kidnapping in court. What can I do, what should I jot do? I need help..

    I have a 4 year old daughter and we reside in Charlotte, NC. My ex and I do not have any custody agreement nor were we married. My daughter has only lived with me for 2 years now. He is telling me I cannot take her out of state. After he had agreed months ago that I could take her to Disney world for xmas. I have tickets and everything. What can I do? He is threatening to call the cops on me.

    im not a lawyer but I’m pretty sure you can just leave if he has nothing to do with her as far as a custody agreement or any for that matter you are her sole provider and so you can do as you please. or if your unsure just write a written statement to him with details and then leave so that if he tries to take you to court you have proof that you gave him notice long time ago.

    I recently moved to Colorado from Virginia for a job. I am in the process of getting a divorce and my wife will not allow the kids to visit me for Christmas. She does want to take them to California for Thanksgiving and I told her in writing that if she doesn’t agree for them to see me, she can not take them to California. Does she need my concent and what can I do? Please help.

    You need to file for divorce (if you haven’t already) and request and go through a temporary relief hearing, which will outline the terms of time-sharing (custody) during the divorce proceedings-

    My husband has joint legal physical custody of his 3 year old son and 10 year old daughter we live in California. My father is ill and lives in Texas but since my husband cannot take vacation at this time; starts work at 5 am I take the children to day care/school before I go to work. We discussed about me going to see my father and taking his 3 year old with me. The trip would only be from Thursday and returning the following Tuesday since that is my only option with my employer (I do not have back up to do my work for longer than 4 workdays) The mother refuses to the agreement of going out of state even though it does not affect her visitation times nor the court order. Can I or my husband get in trouble for going without her approval even if it’s only for those days?

    My wife that I’ve recently separated from is attempting to take our 3 year old daughter out of the country she has a new lesbian lover who has a home in Mexico they have said they
    are not bringing her backi filed a protective order to attempt to stop them but the judge postponed the hearing until after the departure date. I’m desperate we adopted this girl when she was 2 months old now she is a little over 3 years old. We got her after loosing our biological son. This little girl is my life and I need help now she has tickets for the end of this week what can I do legally to get this stopped there is not a divorce filed yet due to financial reasons and there is no custody/visitation order she will not allow me to see the little girl

    im not a lawyer but I’m pretty sure if you are on the legal papers for her adoption you can file for kidnapping if she attempts to leave the country and not come back.

    My daughter has an 8 year old daughter and never been married to the father. We live in California, I am the grandfather. My ex-wife and my daughter wants to send my granddaughter to Las Vegas for 17 days without neither one of them being there they are sending her to Las Vegas with my ex-wife’s friend and the father is furious he do not want his child to leave California like that and neither do I. What your suggestion and direction that we should take to stop this is is it legal for them to make this unilateral decision without the father’s permission?

    If there is a custody and visitation order in place that restricts or prohibits taking the child out of state, there has to be mutual parental consent for the child to travel. The father can demand that mother gets authorisation from the court, or they can communicate to resolve the issue.The father can prevent the child from traveling.

    I live in Kansas and my ex-husband’s sister wants to take my kids to go see their family in California for approximately 2 weeks. I do not give consent for them to go because I am not comfortable with my children traveling that far for that long without a parent in attendance. My ex-husband says that she can take them because he gave consent and mine doesn’t matter. I have no idea where they will be, what they will be doing or exactly when they plan to return. All I know is that they want to leave next Tuesday morning, they are returning home on route 66 and I found out this morning that she booked her hotel in Nevada instead of California which makes no sense. Also I have residential custody of the kids but it has reversed for the summer so I get them on alternate weekends and every Tuesday night from 5-8pm. What are my options here?

    Father cannot make plans on your time. If your children are not there on your court ordered parenting time, you can call the authorities. Also you can go to court to modify custody on the grounds that the other parent is withholding the children from you, and get a better order established.

    My wife who is trying to go to a mediation before filing a divorce took my three children to a college visit for my daughter without my knowing . I found out about the college visit two days prior to the trip and I did not want to be the bad guy and make a fuss about it. This was the first college visit for my daughter . My wife with whom we have planned to complete some colleges visits together as a family left me out without any consultation

    If there’s not a filed divorce then it’s your wife taking both your kids on a trip. I mean, a judge would expect you to be reasonable. If it benefits the kids, is it even worth fighting over? And since there’s not any guidelines in place because you’re married, she’s not breaking any rules.

    Your wife should not have done that. Kudos to you for not making a fuss, college tours are in the best interest of your children, even if you didn’t get to go. Communicate with your eldest college bound child, so you know when the next trip is, or at least the one she wants you on. Maybe just you two can go to one visit. Make a plan now so you don’t go through this with the next two. Good luck.

    My husband has custody of my step daughter. They are under the Indiana parenting guidelines. Recently I her step mother took the child on vacation with me and my 3 other daughters. Her father at last minute could not go so I had my sister another responsible adult go with us and her daughter my niece. I provided my step daughters mother with all the information and phone numbers. On our way home from the trip she sends me a text that I had no right to take her child without her father. He gave the child permission to go and she had all the information. Now she is trying to file contempt charges Is this possible ??? My husband has no contact with the mother, I do all the contacting and have since we got custody. They have a high conflict relationship so I do the communicating she says he should have contacted her eventhough they do not talk at all.

    Hi Shelley, I am not sure if you ever had your question answered I was wondering you had. I am in a similar situation and would like to know the outcome if I may. Before I take the trip and take my step son with me out of state.

    Ugh… My ex was granted child support credit for transporting her once a month visitation.
    He refuses during months with his holiday time because he only gets credit ford one. However, I was told holiday time and regular visitation are separate… Does he still have to get her or not?

    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.

    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 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 ?

    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!

    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?

    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?

    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/

    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?

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