Parent-time is an important component of maintaining the parent-child relationship after a divorce. In Utah, parents can be granted joint parent-time in which the adults share in the responsibility of caring for their child. The child may spend part of each week with each of their parents and move between their households depending on the terms of their specific agreement or order.
When parents live near each other, the logistics of travel between households can be manageable. Complications can arise when parents live far apart or when a parent must move away from their child for work or other commitments. Introducing travel into a parent-time plan can be difficult and may require the guidance and support of a knowledgeable family law attorney.
Possible complications from travel
Though not all parent-time travel arrangements become complicated, parents may encounter challenges from several different sources. Those sources of difficulty can include:
- Questions over which state laws take precedence when parents live in separate states
- Who will pay for the child to travel between their parents’ homes
- What modes of transportation are acceptable to the parents for their child to travel between their homes
- Problems of interference in parent-time and parent-child relationships when children are not shared according to the terms of their orders and agreements
- Claims of kidnapping when a parent travels with their child against the terms of their parent-time agreement or order
As readers can see, parent-time can become difficult when it takes more than a short drive to move a child between their parents’ homes. These serious legal issues can impact families, particularly children, and can often be resolved with legal support.
Working out travel-related issues
Parents can choose to be proactive when they foresee problems occurring in their parent-time schedules. Often parents can work together to establish expectations and parameters for the travel their child must do. Their attorneys can be invaluable resources to ensure their actions and decisions meet the legal requirements and the terms of their specific orders and agreements.
Any changes that may need to be made to a parent-time schedule should be done through the courts so that changes are captured in modified parent-time documents. When parents informally agree to travel terms for their child, enforcement of those decisions may be complicated if they are not codified in the documents that direct their rights and actions regarding their child. In the end, decisions about children and their relationships with their parents will be based on the children’s best interests. For many families, it is possible to work travel into parent-time plans.