Who Pays for Travel Expenses for Visits with the Non-Custodial Parent?

Any divorce is difficult, but those that involve children can be especially painful.  Both parents want to be with the children as much as they always had, but that’s simply not possible. A visitation schedule must be agreed upon as part of the divorce decree.

If you are willing to compromise with your spouse, you can file an amicable divorce and create a visitation schedule that will work for both of you and your children.  You know your children better than anyone else – why let a judge choose a schedule that may not work for your family’s needs?  This is another great reason to try and work with your spouse for a quick and easy divorce.

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When you are creating a visitation schedule, there is more to consider than just what evening the children can visit or when an overnight would work best.  Some families choose every other weekend for a two night visit, while others choose an overnight every week.  You and your spouse need to decide what would be the best option for you.

You also need to decide how to split holidays and birthdays.  This isn’t going to be easy, but it must be included in your agreement.  If you are lucky and live close to each other, it is possible that you can both have the children on holidays and birthdays, such as one of you have them at lunch and the other at supper.  If you don’t live close enough for that to work, it must be stated in your agreement who will have the children.  Usually, the court believes that holidays should be shared and switched every year.

This means you may have your children on Christmas this year and Thanksgiving next year.  You may not like this, but you simply cannot have your children as much as you want.  Compromises must be made or you will be fighting in court for years.  Usually a two week visit during summer vacation is part of the agreement.

If one spouse moves a long distance from the children, travel expenses can add up quickly.  Which parent pays for these expenses must be clearly stated in your visitation schedule.  Most often, the parent who moves has to pay for these expenses, but if this will be a hardship for that parent, the expenses may be split.  Expenses for local travel are usually the non-custodial parent’s responsibility as he/she is the one who is supposed to pick up and return the children.

The visitation schedule you create contains a lot more information that just what days through the week your children will visit their other parent.  It would be a good idea to have your attorney look at your agreement before you file it and make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.  Once you sign and file the agreement and a judge approves it, it will be legally binding so make sure you fully understand everything in the agreement.

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