Summer Vacations & Joint Physical Custody: What You Need to Know

In News by YKF Law


Do you share joint physical custody with your child’s other parent? If so, you’re used to, or, if it’s a fairly new change in your life, getting used to the idea of splitting time with your child with your co-parent. 

If you share joint physical custody, whether your parenting plan involves a 50/50 split or one parent has more time than the other parent with the child, then you’re probably familiar with some of the stipulations of your parenting plan like your child’s medical care, the school they’re going to attend, extracurricular activities they’re involved in, etc.

While you’re used to sharing physical custody of your child and splitting your time, have you ever dealt with summer vacations or vacations in general? Although it may seem natural to do so, joint physical custody doesn’t mean that either you or the child’s other parent can assume they have the right to take the child on a vacation within Missouri (or Kansas), out of state, or out of the country.

If you’re planning on taking a summer vacation with your child whom you share joint physical custody of, you’ll want to make sure you’re aware of Missouri and Kansas law when it comes to parenting plans and vacations. Keep reading to learn all about summer vacations and joint physical custody and how important it is to follow your parenting plan.

Do I Need Permission to Take My Child on Vacation?

While some parenting plans merely require you to provide the other parent with notice of your travel plans, others may require you to obtain permission.  This may apply to both in and out of state travel depending on the terms of your existing parenting plan.  Some parenting plans may even have specific parameters and restrictions (i.e. if traveling more than 100 miles, you must obtain written permission, or a party cannot travel to certain foreign countries). Permission to travel with your child may also depend on whether you have joint legal custody or sole legal custody.

If your parenting plan requires you to obtain permission from the other parent to take your child on vacation, be sure to do so. If the other parent does grant permission then you may want to get it in writing whether it be via text or email.  That way, if there is ever an issue in the future regarding your vacation, you’ll have proof that you were granted the permission.

While your parenting plan may not require you to obtain permission from the other parent, it may require you to inform them of specific details like giving notice to the other parent of travel plans x days before your trip or being required to leave contact information for where you’re traveling, etc.

If you do not require permission to travel with your child, it may be best to still inform the other parent of your plans. You’ll want to have a successful co-parenting relationship and keep open and honest communication about major things like taking your child out of the state, the country, or even just traveling a long distance in-state. The other parent will appreciate your openness and honesty as we’re sure you would respect theirs.

Violations to the Parenting Plan

So what happens if neither you nor your co-parent gets permission from one another when it’s required? What happens if permission isn’t granted and a parent violates the parenting plan? If either of you fails to follow the parenting plan, you may be held in contempt of court.

Contempt of court is when someone violates or doesn’t follow a court order (in this case, a parenting plan). Consequently, there are penalties for violating or not following a parenting plan. These penalties can include being ordered to pay fines or even imprisonment depending on your specific case and the judge’s ruling.

Following a parenting plan is crucial for the safety of the child and their best interest. Not only do parenting plans include arrangements like custody schedules, but they also establish guidelines that both parties must follow. Again, the court ordered a parenting plan with the child’s best interest in mind, so it’s crucial to trust and follow it. Violations are taken very seriously by both Missouri and Kansas courts.

If you’re unclear about the stipulations of your parenting plan or if you’d like to modify an existing parenting plan, our family law attorneys at The Law Office of Young, Kuhl & Frick, LLC are here to help. The family law services we provide include modification actions in addition to many other services.

Likewise, if you’re currently going through a custody case or the divorce process and are looking for a family law attorney in Lee’s Summit or a divorce attorney in Kansas City, contact The Law Office of Young, Kuhl & Frick, LLC. With over fifty-three years of combined legal experience, our family law firm is comprised of a team that’s skilled in both negotiation and litigation, handling family law matters from the most complex to the most straightforward.

We have offices in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and Leawood, Kansas (by appointment only). In addition to our two physical locations, our firm’s family and divorce attorneys have practiced in Jackson, Clay, Cass, Lafayette, and Platte County, Missouri as well as Johnson County, Kansas.