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Can you travel out of state with your child after your divorce?

On Behalf of | May 7, 2024 | Family Law

Summer will soon be here, and for many parents, it’s a time for travel and vacations. However, if you have recently divorced and are co-parenting with your ex-spouse, you may be wondering about the legality and logistics of traveling out of state with your child.

Here is what you should know before making any travel arrangements.

The custodial agreement

Your custody agreement is the most significant factor in determining whether you can travel out of Illinois with your child.

If you share joint legal custody with your ex-spouse, you likely need their permission to travel out of state with your child. A joint custody agreement implies that you and your co-parent have equal decision-making authority over significant aspects of your child’s life, including travel.

If you have sole legal custody, you may have more freedom to make travel decisions independently. However, you should review your custody agreement for specific restrictions or requirements.

Even if your custody agreement allows for out-of-state travel, you will still want to take additional precautions to help ensure a smooth trip and prevent misunderstandings. It’s advisable that you obtain written consent from your ex-spouse. The document should include details of travel dates, destination and contact information. Written permission can safeguard against potential allegations of parental kidnapping.

When traveling, carry a copy of your custody order and the written consent from your ex-spouse. 

Open and honest communication with your ex-spouse about travel plans is vital. Providing ample notice and sharing details about the trip can foster co-parenting cooperation and ease any concerns the other parent may have.

If you want to take your child out of state for a vacation or a family reunion, now is the time to make plans. Stating your intent well ahead can help reduce potential conflicts and allow plenty of time to gather the required documentation. Your primary purpose would be to have a stress-free trip with your child, filled with positive experiences and great memories.