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Incorporating international travel matters into a co-parenting agreement

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2024 | Divorce

Divorce can be a complex process, often especially when it comes to navigating child custody arrangements. Take, for example, parents with a heritage in another country, whose desire to share their culture and homeland with their children is strong. Pursuing this goal isn’t always easy when co-parenting with an ex.

Are you a divorcing parent in Texas looking to incorporate relatively regular visits to your home country with your kids? Or do you simply like to take your kids to new places across borders? Perhaps your ex-partner is hesitant about the kids traveling internationally without them. Worry not; you can explore options and strategies for reaching a cooperative, enforceable agreement in this regard.

Texas law and child travel

Texas prioritizes the best interests of the child in all litigated custody decisions. While there are no specific laws regarding international travel with children, courts typically consider factors like:

  • The child’s age
  • The length of the trip
  • The relationship with the other parent
  • The safety of the destination country

With that said, you and your ex can also agree on the terms of your co-parenting arrangements without a judge’s intervention. Either way, a court order can be established during divorce proceedings – or in a standalone context if you and your ex never married – if you don’t have a formal co-parenting agreement in place yet. If you do have an agreement in place, a legal team can help you to modify it as needed.

Building bridges: Communication and compromise

Open communication with your ex-partner is crucial. You can initiate a productive conversation that focuses on the benefits of international travel for your kids. Highlight the cultural and familial enrichment your children can experience by visiting your home country.

Remember to acknowledge your co-parent’s anxieties and propose solutions. Perhaps you could offer regular video calls during your international travels with the children. If international travel seems daunting initially, propose shorter trips within the U.S. that involve your cultural heritage, like visiting ethnic enclaves or attending cultural events.

Crafting a co-parenting agreement

If you reach an agreement, it’s important to document it formally in your co-parenting plan. Try to make sure the parenting agreement outlines the details of the international visits, including:

  • Frequency
  • Duration
  • Destination
  • Financial responsibility for travel costs

It can also help to establish clear communication protocols for the trips, including how often you’ll contact your ex-partner and the method (phone calls, emails, video chats). Don’t forget to incorporate emergency procedures to address emergencies. You can include contact information for local authorities, hospitals and yourselves in the agreement.

Incorporating international travel into your co-parenting agreement generally requires legal guidance, open communication, compromise and a focus on the well-being of your children. By understanding Texas law, addressing your ex-partner’s concerns and formalizing your agreement, you can help ensure your children experience both the cultural richness of your heritage and the stability of a healthy approach to your co-parenting relationship.