Are There Travel Restrictions? What Must Custodial and Non-Custodial Parents Do Before Traveling?
We live in a mobile society. It’s fairly common for most of us to have family members that live in distant communities in the state of Texas or in other states. When we experience a divorce and there are still minor children living in the home, we will often have situations where we want to take those minor children across or even outside of the state of Texas to visit family or friends, or go on a vacation. Are there travel restrictions imposed under Texas law on custodial or non-custodial parents and their minor children? What does the state of Texas require before a custodial or non-custodial parent goes to the other end of the state or travels across the country?
Non-Custodial Parents—The Right to Travel during Visitation
The rights of a non-custodial parent to travel during possession or visitation are customarily addressed in the divorce decree. Accordingly, if your divorce order sets no limits on the right or ability to travel, and imposes no requirements upon the non-custodial parent before any travel, a non-custodial parent will be able to take a minor child on any trip, whether inside or outside of the state of Texas. The only limitations on a non-custodial parent’s right to travel with a minor child must be set forth in the court order.
If you are married, but do not have a court order governing visitation/possession and the right of a non-custodial parent to take minor children on a trip, you must file for divorce and obtain an order. If you don’t have a court order but are not or have not been married to the child’s other parent, you will have to file a “suit affecting the parent-child relationship (SAPCR). As a part of the SAPCR, you can ask the court to issue an order addressing possession/visitation and any limits on travel during visitation.
Before a divorce is final, or before a court issues a divorce judgment, you can informally agree with your ex-spouse regarding the scope and potential limitations of travel with a minor child of the divorce. The best strategy is to enter into a “Rule 11 agreement” regarding travel, which a court can enforce until a final divorce decree is entered. The terms of the Rule 11 agreement will customarily become part of the final order.
If you cannot agree, however, on the right to travel, you will need to schedule a hearing in court. The judge will typically take testimony and consider any evidence submitted at the hearing before rending a decision. It’s important to understand, though, that unless you specifically ask the court to rule regarding any travel rights or restrictions, the court will not include such language in the final decree.
Contact the Experienced Divorce and Family Law Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we understand the challenges you face when you have minor children in the home after a divorce. We offer a free initial consultation to every client. To speak with a compassionate, but aggressive family law attorney, contact us by e-mail or 844-402-2992 call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.