New Mexico Child Custody Laws For Out Of State Travel

If you’re divorced or in the midst of the process, you’re probably wondering about a lot of issues, particularly those related to child custody and visitation. One big question that tends to come up is whether you can take your children out of New Mexico for a summer vacation, and if so, how you go about it. Keep reading to learn more about taking your kids out of state for a vacation.

Permission is key

holding childYou can take your child out of state for vacation, but you need some sort of permission from the other parent, and the form is somewhat decided by the relationship between you and your ex.
If the relationship between you and your ex is very cordial, you may be able to come to an agreement with him or her about summer vacations without having to go to court. You still need to let the other parent know you will be taking the children out of state. If the other parent refuses and there’s nothing from your time in court that addresses out-of-state vacations, you may have a problem.
If the relationship between you and your ex is very tumultuous, not only do you need permission, but you should get an order from the court to avoid trouble down the line.

Your parenting plan

The parenting plan is crucial in child custody situations, even if you and your ex get along just fine. This plan puts everything about the custody arrangement in writing, so issues such as vacation time are clear to both you and your ex and are enforceable by the court.
If your parenting plan or another type of court order does not address vacations, the court has nothing to enforce. In this case, you or you and your ex would need to file a court motion to request a ruling on a vacation out of state. While there’s no way to predict what will happen in court, it’s likely that counselors from the court will become involved to determine your children’s best interests. The judge may also want to ensure that both of you leave with a thorough parenting plan to avoid future disputes and court appearances.

Be prepared to start early

If taking your children out of New Mexico for vacation is going to be an issue and you need to go to court, start many months ahead of when you’re planning to leave. This process can take a long time, and it could be months before you see a judge. Once you do see a judge, he or she may have counselors evaluate the child custody situation, taking even more time. Delays to the point of missing the vacation will disappoint your children and might generate even more hostility between you and your ex.
You’ll need to file a motion about summer time-sharing if you don’t have a plan in place or if your ex won’t agree to your planned vacation. Since this is not considered an emergency, you can’t label it as such, so be prepared to file as early as possible so you don’t end up having to put the vacation off until next year because of court delays.
If you need help creating or modifying a parenting plan with your ex or if you need to go to court over vacation time, speak to an attorney immediately. An experienced family law attorney will help you work out your issues with your ex and go to court if necessary. Having a clear parenting plan can help make the custody situation between you and your ex less uncivil, which is better for your children.