Spring Break is just around the corner. Do you know where your child is going?

When travelling with your child, whether it’s Spring Break or even a weekend away, the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines require that information must be provided to the non-travelling parent about the child’s whereabouts. The Guidelines provide that for emergency notification purposes, the travelling parent must provide an itinerary of travel dates, destinations and places where the child or travelling parent can be reached, or the name and telephone number of an available third person who knows where the child or parent may be located. It’s a frequent complaint of non-travelling parents that either they didn’t know that the child was out of state until after the fact, or they didn’t receive anything more than the name and phone number of the spouse or significant other who is going on the very same trip with the child. That is not appropriate notice under the guidelines.

When deciding what information to provide, imagine what kind of information you might want if your child was going on a trip with a church or school? Perhaps you would want to know the specific dates and times of travel, as well as name, address and phone number of the hotel, and specific flight information. What is demanded of 3rd parties is exactly what should be providing to your co-parent.

While it’s possible not to know exactly where a child is if he or she is on a cruise with a parent, at least the cruise ship company, departure and return dates and locations can be provided. As so much travel is scheduled online, resulting in email confirmation, an easy fix would be to cut and paste the relevant information from that email and pass it along to the other parent at the time of scheduling.

Finally, when scheduling a trip with your child, remember that any absences from school which are not related to illness need to be discussed with your co-parent. While you might have been comfortable with removing a child from school for travel when your relationship was intact, don’t assume that the other parent will be okay with your child missing school for your vacation plans.

Share your itinerary and contact information with your co-parent ahead of time and your trip will be smooth sailing!