Can your ex take your kids across state lines on a road trip?

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2021 | Custody And Parenting Time |

Parents sharing custody during and after a divorce often have to negotiate about their parenting. For example, you may need to discuss vacation plans ahead of time so that you don’t duplicate one another’s trips or schedule things for the same week.

It’s also important that everyone complies with the parenting plan and the restrictions on shared custody in California. If your ex wants to take the kids in the car and drive for a few hours for a trip to Nevada, can they leave the state with your children?

Typically, out-of-state travel requires approval

If your ex wants to take the kids to Nevada or anywhere else outside of California, they need your permission. Unless your parenting plan already extends the right for interstate travel to either parent, permission from the other parent is necessary for the parent who wants to leave the state with the children.

If you don’t approve of your ex’s travel request, then they generally cannot leave the state with the children. In some cases, when they feel very strongly about it, they may go to the courts to ask for a custody modification.

The courts can review a contested travel request

Maybe you have sound reasons for wanting to keep your ex in California when they have custody of your children. Your ex may not agree with your reasoning, so they may file a modification request.

The courts could decide to allow the trip or even adjust the parenting plan so your ex won’t need to request permission for out-of-state travel in the future. In a contested modification hearing, both parents have an opportunity to present evidence about their side of the situation. You can counter your ex’s claims with your own concerns or evidence of previous misconduct that makes you worried about this travel.

Modifications depend on what is best for the children

When co-parents don’t agree about important decisions regarding their children, California family law judges can help resolve their disagreements. Just like when a judge originally reviewed your custody situation and entered a custody order, they need to focus on what is best for the kids when thinking about a modification request.

If they think that the travel would benefit the children or that the time with the other parent would be meaningful, they may allow the trip. If they think that the other parent might engage in unsafe behavior, they may choose not to allow it. Knowing what influences a judge’s decision on custody conflicts can help you resolve a disagreement about a trip with your ex.