Now that it is summer, many families are making travel plans. For couples in the middle of the divorce, they frequently turn to their lawyers this time of year and ask: Am I allowed to travel with my children? Do I have to ask for permission?
The answer is usually “yes.” If custody is an issue in your case, parents cannot take a child outside of Illinois absent an agreement or Court order while the case is pending. That does not mean your ex can unreasonably withhold consent. If he or she does, the Court will generally allow the travel and any effort to deny parenting time on his or her behalf will likely backfire.
One the best bits of guidance is to pin down an agreed upon “regular schedule” early on in the process (even if it is a temporary one). When summer rolls around, that “regular schedule” will be enforceable unless the parents agree to enter into another agreement regarding summer. That is why it is always a good idea to plan out vacations and holidays as far out in advance. Generally, the sooner the parents can enter a final Joint Parenting Agreement, which includes a year-round schedule, the better.
Most agreements almost always include provisions about making sure each parent has proper notice of the trip and always receives the complete itinerary and contact information. The mechanics of scheduling of flights is much easier for some parents than others. If your communication with your ex-partner is lacking, make sure you carefully consider those important details in preparing your agreement with counsel.