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Interstate Visitation Questions

Started by gabes_mom, Sep 24, 2007, 09:05:25 AM

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Background first:

In 2004 DH and BM went to court about the BM relocating the children out of state over 500 miles (one way) from their home state and town. The Judge at that time decided that the move was allowed and thru that set in motion all the problems.

The kids are SD 8 and SS 6. They live in PA we live in NC. NC still holds jurisdiction over case.

Current Problem:

I received an email from the BM stating that her husband got a job in Texas and she and the kids will be moving from their home in PA to Wisconsin until January. After January she will move the kids down to Texas where their step father is living for however long he has this job.

Because of this move visitation is now put into question. We used to meet halfway which was a 4 hr drive one way for each of us. So meeting wasn't too bad during the Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and Summer visitation times.

But obviously that won't work now because the miles have DOUBLED with her move to Wisconsin and then TRIPLED when she moves the kids to Texas.

It's not realistic for us to expect children to travel for such a long period of time during the shorter holidays (like thanksgiving, christmas and easter) when we only have them for 4 days. Much of their vacation time would be spent traveling.

During the summer when Dh's visitation is longer it would be more realistic to seek/enforce visitation with the kids.  

My questions are:
1) What is a standard interstate visitation arrangement for School aged children?

2)Who generally is expected to pay for the plane tickets ?
(b/c meeting halfway is no longer feaseable it would take too long and in the end cost more then flying)

Any advice or suggestions are greatly appreciated.


I'm not sure there is a "standard"...

I think your first step is to research flight availability and whether it's really feasible for flying over a weekend back to NC.  Like check out USAirways who hubs out of Charlotte and see how flights to WI and TX would work out.

I think since she moved away, she should have to shoulder the cost of the tickets.

I moved (active duty military at the time) and shouldered the cost and EX (at first) agreed to reduced CS.  Then he went back on his agreement (IMHO, o.k.?  because he would disagree).

However, currently, I agreed to reduced CS, and EX pays for airline tickets.  

During negotiations with EX about time with our son, I agreed to this:

Thanksgiving/Spring Break (Easter):  Son gets Thanksgiving with Dad, and Spring Break/Easter with Mom.  (For others, I recommend alternating between these two holidays.)

Christmas:  Alternating between one week to include Christmas and one week NOT to include Christmas.  Break is approx 14 days long, so son will get 7 days with each of us but the days here with me will be split up.  EX would not agree to "first week/second week" being defined.

Summer:  It's 10 weeks long, so son is spending the first 5 weeks with Dad, and the rest with mom.  

Son is also allowed one weekend a month with dad where I have agreed to take him to the airport and let him fly north.  If it's a 3-day weekend, I have agreed to allow the Mon/Fri to be included.  Dad must give me 2 weeks notice and Dad must pay for airline ticket to make it happen.  Dad may not choose Mother's Day weekend in May.

When I was NCP, it was very similar except:

I did not alternate Christmas holidays like we are doing now.  I alternated with one week over Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter.

Summer was half -- 6 weeks.

Weekends never included a 3 day holiday unless I used one of my "annual 6 weeks" as a day.


1. I'm also not aware of a standard.

2. I would suggest that you negotiate it - preferably with the help of a mediator. If you can't reach an agreement, the judge will tell you how to split the cost - and it's likely to be arbitrary.

With the mobility of people in today's workforce, this is a common situation and most judges probably have a way that they handle it, even if it's not standard for the entire state or district.

From PA to TX, there's almost zero chance that the kids will be driving, at least for shorter holiday periods. Rather, they'll undoubtedly be flying.

With reduced airfare costs (even with the modest unaccompanied minor fee), you may well find that air travel won't cost much more than driving 500 miles and hotel rooms, meals, etc.


We actually live in NC and they are moving from PA to TX.

Here's what we have placed before her to think about.

She gets the kids every Thanksgiving.

Christmas to be alternated: she gets odd years we get even years starting from the first day of vacation to the last day of vacation.

She gets them every Spring/Easter break.

We get them for 5 wks in the summer

~~ Since she is the one moving from one state to another all over the USA she should pay 75% of the airfare and DH pay 25% of the airfare. If they chose to drive she should drive 75% of the way and dh should drive 25%.

I looked at a couple airlines, looks like it would be easier to fly and by far cheaper to fly them. I just hope that she agrees to this.

BTW this was emailed to her so when we go to court (if for nothing else then to make it a court order instead of a verbal/written agreement) it can be proved that we are working on making this work not trying to start a battle every chance we get.

Thankfully where we live still holds jurisdiction of the children's cases.

Kitty C.

I don't believe there's a standard, but I can tell you what we worked out between CA and IA.

Because of the age of your children, they will have to fly non-stop (no change of planes) until they are both at least 8 or 9.  At least that's what it was when DS flew unaccompanied.  Also, remember that if they fly unaccompanied, the additional charges are ONLY for one way....you have to pay that fee for both flights AND for both kids.  Say if the UAM fee is $60, you can expect to pay $240 ON TOP OF the regular cost of 2 tickets.

One definite thing to keep in mind, tho.  You must take this to court, because this changes EVERYTHING.  If the BM is the one moving away, she should be the one bearing the burden of the majority of the travel costs, no matter how the children are transported.  Many judges have ruled that the parent moving must incur the cost of transporting the kids, but since we're talking spending hundreds of dollars each time the children come to see you, you probably should and will bear part of that burden.

As for a schedule, a lot depends on what you can negotiate with the BM.  If the kids have enough time off from school at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and/or spring break (and you and BM can afford that often), then it's not unreasonable to ask for that.  In our case, DS saw his dad in CA every other Christmas and every summer, all summer long.  Our school district only has 4 days at Thanksgiving and they don't have spring break, so Christmas and summers were all we had to work with, plus that's all DS's dad and I could afford at the time.

Something else to keep in mind.......something that Mist mentioned in another post/forum.  Make sure you have an atty. and try to find out how the atty. feels the judge will rule.  There's a possibility that the judge will tell the BM that she's free to move if she wants, but what she's planning with these moves (and the upheavals they could create for the kids), the judge may feel that it's too much for the kids, especially with the temp. move to WI.  BTW, does she have a legitimate reason for that?  Why not move directly to TX and save the kids the havoc of changing schools and making friends twice?  Especially since they probably will not want to make friends in WI, since they only have to say goodbye in a few months.  It will all depend on the judge and how much he/she is willing to put the kids through.........if he/she is not will ing to do that to them, he/she may tell the BM she can move if she wants, but the kids will stay with Dad, so as not to cause any more chaos in their lives.  It's always a possibility.............

But above all else, this must go back to court (BEFORE she moves), or you AND the kids will get royally screwed.........
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......


I agree with the part that this would cause tremendous upheaval in the kids' lives. If dad is not inclined to file for custody, if I were him I would say to the judge, here is my proposed visitation schedule, but I have major concerns about the effects TWO moves will have on the kids. Not to mention the reduced time with dad.


I don't think I ever paid a fee per child when both my girls flew together.

I think I paid per trip -- like one fee for the both of them.

And then there's the trip with Northwest that had us all confused.

OD was old enough, MD wasn't.  But since MD was flying with OD, my end didn't charge me a fee and off they went.

On the way back (in Chicago), Dad had to pay the fee.  He complained to the girls -- who  promptly answered "Dad they didn't charge mom a fee when we came up here so that's why she didn't say anything to you."

So....who was right?  Don't know....since I didn't pay, I didn't follow up.


is 5 weeks half the summer?

why does BM get both Thankgiving and Spring break....are you guys custodial?


>I agree with the part that this would cause tremendous
>upheaval in the kids' lives. If dad is not inclined to file
>for custody, if I were him I would say to the judge, here is
>my proposed visitation schedule, but I have major concerns
>about the effects TWO moves will have on the kids. Not to
>mention the reduced time with dad.

There's nothing that can be done about that. Since the mother and father already live in different states and the mother is moving, the kids are going to move no matter what. It would be hard to argue that it's less stressful for them to move to the mother's new location than to the father's new location.


>I don't think I ever paid a fee per child when both my girls
>flew together.
>I think I paid per trip -- like one fee for the both of them.

It may depend on the airline, but on American Airlines, at least, you are correct: