Virginia Family Law: Vacation and Custody


With winter vacations right around the corner, now is a good time to consider your current custody and visitation arrangement and any implications it may have for your travel plans.

If you and your ex-spouse have a visitation agreement or court order, remember to re-read it prior to planning any vacation and be sure to comply with all terms in order to avoid potential show-cause actions.

If you and your ex-spouse do not have any agreement currently in place but are fairly amicable, consider having the following things put into place at least temporarily. If you or the other parent is going out of town, offer to exchange a contact sheet listing local telephone numbers and addresses where you may be reached. Offer to set up at least bi-weekly communications with your child and the other parent via Skype or Facetime.  If you and your ex are going to each take a week long vacation, consider discussing in advance the weeks each of you will take, and then be prepared with a back up in case you have each chosen the same weeks.

While winter vacation is a time of fun for the family, if you are in the middle of a highly contested custody fight, and there is no court Order in place, be aware that if the other parent takes the child out of state, it is not considered parental kidnapping, and is legal. If you have concerns a parent will try to flee the state, it is best to avoid agreeing to any out of state travel, and to ensure that court petitions for custody and visitation are pending.

If you have questions regarding child custody and visitation or parental kidnapping, please contact us at 804-423-1382 or email us at