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Can my ex take my child out of state on vacation?

Many Florida residents wonder whether their ex can take their child out of state on a vacation without their consent. The answer is, “It depends.”

For one thing, the parents may have a parenting plan that basically states parents can do what they want with the kids when it is their week or time. On the other hand, the plan might say that both parents must consent for one to take the child out of state.

Begin with the parenting plan

Many co-parents in Florida operate off parenting plans. Such plans govern childcare arrangements, school vacation schedules and joint custody/visitation schedules, among other issues. One issue they can cover is whether both parents must consent for one to take the child out of state. However, including such a clause may lead to feelings of ill will, especially if the divorce is amicable and the relationship between the co-parents remains good.

That said, it can still be a good idea to spell out the degree of independence each parent has. For instance, something like, “For one month during alternating summers, each parent has the right to take the children on vacation anywhere of the parent’s choosing,” makes clear that consent is not necessary for that vacation.

If lack of trust in the other parent is a problem but the parent lives out of state or has many relatives out of state (or even out of the country), there are many ways to word parenting plans to reflect this fact. For instance, “Parent B may take the child out of state to attend a relative’s funeral, but Parent A must go, too.”

Legal and physical custody

If one parent has both legal and physical custody, it is possible that the parent must consent to out-of-state travel. Of course, the parenting plan may still make a provision such as, “Parent B can take the child anywhere on vacation.”

If you worry that your ex may take your child away without your permission, a parenting plan that gets specific about consent can be effective. An attorney can help with drawing one up.

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