Vacations are fun, and they can, believe it or not, be even more fun with your children. Sometimes, in our exuberance or excitement, we may want to take our kids on vacation before telling the other parent, but is that legal?
Married and living together
If you and the other parent are married and living together, you do not need the other parent’s consent before taking your shared child on vacation, even if the vacation is out of the city or Maryland. Leaving the United States and entering another country may require the consent of both parents.
However, even if you can do it, you probably should not do it. It is always a good idea to tell the other parent because the last thing you want to do is have an Amber Alert go out on your child or cause your wife or husband distress.
Separated or divorced
If you are separated or divorced from the other parent, then there will be a court order that dictates custody or visitation. Follow that order because those orders usually have provisions about traveling with your child, and they usually include some kind of parental consent, advanced notice, providing an itinerary or even notifying the court.
What if the order does not have travel terms?
If the order does not have travel terms, you should still communicate with your co-parent with the purpose of reaching an agreement on your proposed vacation. And, if an agreement cannot be reached, you will likely need to ask the family law court for permission.
The court will make the decision, as usual, based on the best interests of your child. And, even if they do grant your vacation request, they may impose conditions or restrictions on the proposed vacation. For example, you may be restricted to only travel within the United States, obtaining travel insurance, returning by a certain date, etc.
Unauthorized travel with your child could have real consequences. If you have a custody or visitation order in place, you could be held in contempt of court for violating it, but even if not, you could face accusations of kidnapping or parental abduction under Maryland law.