The holiday season is one of the busiest travel times of the year. During Thanksgiving and Christmas, a large number of travelers take long-distance trips to spend time with their families, often leading to crowded airports or traffic-clogged roadways. For a noncustodial parent, the holiday season is one of the few times when parent and child are able to enjoy a large period of uninterrupted time together. Unfortunately, preparing for this bonding time is often time-consuming and stressful. Keeping a few travel tips for noncustodial parents in mind may help make your own holiday travel with children easier to manage.

Check Documentation Requirements

Regardless of whether or not your children are traveling alone or with you, they will need certain documents. Over the past year, travel requirements for individuals flying domestically and internationally have changed. A child who is traveling alone or with a family friend needs to have some form of identification available. If neither parent is traveling with the child, then it is recommended that you give the adult accompanying the child a notarized parental consent form verifying that he or she has your consent to travel with your child.

Bring Custody Agreement

When you are planning to travel with your children, make sure that you have a copy of your custody agreement. Concerns over parental kidnapping lead to increased vigilance during busy holiday travel times. Having a copy of your court-ordered custody agreement along with your child’s birth certificate or student identification is always a good idea. Your children may be asked to provide the information themselves or be expected to verify their names, birthdays, or other information. Even if you do not need it, having the documents available and not using them is preferable to being delayed at an airport because your right to travel with your child is being questioned.

Travel with Emergency Essentials

In January of 2017, a system glitch led to 150 Delta flights being cancelled, leaving thousands of passengers stranded nationwide. Travelers spent hours in airports trying to keep their children fed, occupied, and remain in contact with loved ones. While hopefully no noncustodial parents end up stranded in an airport for hours, it is a good idea to bring emergency supplies just in case.  Packing extra doses of medications that your children take, sanitary items, snacks, and portable chargers for everyone can make a long delay more tolerable.

When in Doubt Talk to an Expert

Traveling with children after a divorce or separation is difficult, especially if you have only recently obtained visitation rights. Protect yourself and your rights by contacting a child custody and visitation attorney during the planning stages of your travel. A qualified attorney can discuss your options and make sure that you are aware of the visitation rights to which you are entitled.  The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum realize how important spending time with your child is after a divorce and we work with you to make sure your visitation goes smoothly. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our Atlanta, Georgia locations to discuss your custody and visitation needs.