Can I Prevent My Ex From Traveling With My Children Out Of State During The Pandemic?

Even in the best of situations, some parents may disagree on how to raise their children. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these differences may be a matter of public safety. Further, these differences of opinion may bring up matters of custody and visitation orders. If you and your ex-partner disagree on traveling during the pandemic, can you prevent them from taking your children out of the state? 

Follow The Custody Order

In an unprecedented set of circumstances, there are currently no specific laws that say whether or not you can prevent your ex from taking your children on a trip out of the state during the coronavirus pandemic. However, terms of the custody agreement or court order for the child may be brought into question. Once a child custody agreement has been decided upon, both parties must abide by its terms. If either party violates the terms of the agreement, the party seeking enforcement may be able to file a motion to the court holding the offending party in contempt of the agreement. Courts generally will not enter a contempt order until the custody order has been violated or there is a clear indication that the order has not be followed. During these uncertain times, using good judgement is important.

Unless your specific court order prevents out-of-state travel or other restrictions, generally each parent may choose to travel. However, violating state travel laws, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or state quarantine guidelines and court-ordered visitation may affect a custody modifications case as they could be seen as matters of health and safety for the child involved.

It is always important to follow the custody order. If your ex-partner plans to go on vacation unless it is prohibited or outlined in the custody agreement, they may not be found in contempt. If the courts find that the party is in contempt, the court will establish a purge provision to allow the party in contempt to get out of being in contempt. Avoiding violation of the custody order involves reviewing the terms of the agreement and noting any limitations or notice requirements. For example, your ex may be required to obtain permission from the court before leaving the state with your child, but that is unusual. There are more restrictions generally on out of the country travel. It may be helpful to modify and come to a new agreement with your ex to find the best solution for you and your child during these unprecedented times.

Let a Child Custody Attorney Help

While traveling or preventing your ex from traveling with your children may require extra steps, it may be accomplished with the help of a lawyer. If you have any questions about how child custody has been impacted by the Coronavirus, our experienced team can assist you in addressing your concerns. Call today.