CAN A PARENT TRAVEL OUTSIDE THE STATE FOR A VACATION WITH THE CHILD?
There is a specific statute in Kansas that states if you are going to be out of the state with a child for more than six months, you have to send notice. The reason why that statute is in place, is because there is a federal law that defines what a home state is. It is called the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act, or UCCJEA, which says that a state becomes a home state of a child based on a three-month interval. Once a child has resided in a state for three months, that state would effectively become the child’s home state.
Therefore, if you are going to be out of the state for more than ninety days, the court would require that notice. In addition to that, most parenting plans contemplated by parties and attorneys, do provide provisions. For example, it is very standard in all of my parenting plans that I draft for there to be a provision that covers that specifically. Those provisions can be as specific or generic as the parties want and can agree upon.
For example, a very generic provision might be that if a parent plans to travel out of the state or travel a specific distance, and stay overnight with the child, it usually requires at least seven days’ notice in advance of that trip. The other parent must be given the dates of the trip, the location of where they are going, and an emergency contact number. That is about as basic as those provisions can be. Possible changes could include the length of time they have to give notice beforehand, or how long they have to be gone for.
In mine, I usually keep it very fundamental. If there is any time when you are going to be out of the general metropolitan area where you reside with the child and you are going to be spending a night out of town, the other parent has a right to know. Most of my clients would agree that it is very reasonable and appreciative to know where their child is resting their head at night. Most attorneys who practice see the validity in that, too. Even if one party might say, “Hey, I don’t think I have to tell the other parent if I’m going to go down to the Legends for a weekend and stay in a hotel,” most attorneys would be able to claim to those parties why a court likely would see it as valid as well.
However, you can get very specific with those provisions, too. In other words, you could take that same base provision and add on to it. Sometimes I have on there, “name of anybody that’ll be travelling, name of anybody where they’ll be staying at, in the residence.” In other words, not to say, “We’re going to be at this place,” but “We’re going to be at this place, staying with these people.” Sometimes if it is going to be a long trip, I have had provisions that say, you need to “give a brief itinerary of what you will be doing.” Say you are going to Europe and you are going to be doing some backpacking, an itinerary of the general places you will be going would be requested.
You can get even more specific from there if you want, but there is no statute that says you have to give any of that information to the other party. Typically, if you go before a judge and ask for it, you will at least get the basic provision stated at the outset. That is why it is usually one of the things that is always negotiated for in a parenting plan. It is the exact provisions and the terms that can fluctuate and change from plan to plan. That is why a lot of it is based on how you define it.
Often times, clients say “Hey, look, I feel like I deserve a degree of privacy.” This is true, they all do, because Kansas law says each party does have a right to lead their own, separate independent life, free of interference or unwanted harassment by their ex. There are case laws that make this very clear. But, you can see you kind of have competing interests. As I try to ask my clients, “don’t you want to know where your kid’s going to be laying their head down at every night?” If you can express it well enough to a party, most people understand it. If we go into court and the other side asks for that generic information, such as where you’re going, the dates you’re going, and an emergency number, that’s about as reasonable and generic as it gets.