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What are Missouri Child Custody Laws for Traveling Out of State?

Most people take the possibility of out-of-state or even out-of-country travel for granted. For many people, simply hopping in the car for a fun weekend away with the kids requires little more than a full tank of gas. Unfortunately, child custody laws for traveling out of state mean trips are much more complicated when a child custody agreement is involved.

Your right to travel to another state with your child will depend entirely on the language of your custody order. In many situations, the objection of the other parent could be enough to make these trips difficult if not impossible. Our firm could advise you on your legal options or help you pursue court permission for an out-of-state trip with your child.

Permission to Travel Out of State from Missouri

Whether or not you need permission from the court or the other parent to travel with your child will depend on the terms of the child custody order. The specific language in these orders is important and often clearly outlines when travel is allowed and when it is not. Many parenting plans submitted to the court will set out the date of certain pre-planned vacations or trips.

One of the most important factors in determining the right to travel with a child is the type of custody you have. If you have sole custody of a child, you are under no obligation to clear any travel with the court or another parent. Things become more complicated in situations involving shared custody. Travel to another state or country is likely to interfere with the other parent’s custody or visitation, making it necessary to secure permission.

Many parenting plans will spell out the weeks during a year where a parent has the right to travel with their child. In other situations, a parenting plan might allow for travel as long as the other parent consents. The nature of your relationship with the other parent could impact what this form of permission entails.

For parents operating informally, it could be enough to secure permission through a phone call or text message. In other situations, it may be best for the parents to formally execute a written agreement that sets out the permission to travel.

When Permission is Not Granted for Out-of-State Travel

In many situations, permission might not be granted. In some cases, this could come down to your inability to make contact with the other parent to get an answer either way. In others, that parent might simply deny your request to travel with the child. The unfortunate reality is that these denials can happen based on flimsy excuses or no reason at all.

Without the permission of the other parent, traveling with your child could have substantial consequences. These consequences include contempt charges and even jail time. Given the stakes, it is important that you abide by the terms of your custody order.

If the other parent refuses to grant you custody, you have the right to seek court approval. This could come in the form of a change to the custody agreement. An order from the court could explicitly give you the right to take a trip on a specific date with your child in tow.

It is not unusual for a court to send both parents to mediation in an attempt to resolve the dispute amicably. Many parents reach a fair outcome in these disputes during mediation, which helps families avoid the cost of litigation.

Emergency Out-of-State Travel Orders

In cases of an emergency, the court might issue an order allowing out of state travel. These orders are only granted in situations where it is impossible for the court to hold a formal hearing. Some reasons why an emergency order might be necessary involves travel for medical reasons or when the other parent revokes permission at the last minute.

Talk to a Missouri Child Custody Lawyer About Child Custody Laws for Traveling Out of State

If you are planning a trip with your child, it is important that you understand child custody laws for traveling out of state. You should know what is permitted under the terms of your child custody order. Our firm can advise you on your rights and help you seek a change to these terms when needed.

Call us at (314) 207-0641 for a free consultation. You can also contact us via our website by filling out a simple form. We look forward to the opportunity to serve as your advocate.



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