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Cross-country co-parenting: Rules for airline transportation

Imagine you're the noncustodial parent of your children, but you have visitation rights. In most situations, your children would spend every other weekend with you. However, what if you live on the other side of the country?

You and your spouse will need to decide on a visitation schedule that honors the fact that distance prevents you from spending every other weekend with your kids - and that airline transportation will be required to connect you with your kids.

Creating a long-distance parenting plan

In most situations, parents who live on opposite sides of the country will create a parenting plan that gives the noncustodial parent an extended amount of time with the children during the summer months.

Perhaps the children will spend six weeks of their summer vacations living with the noncustodial parent. Also, parents will likely share every other extended holiday - such as winter and spring vacations - and the children may spend some three- or four-day weekends with the noncustodial parent.

Creating guidelines for airline transportation of your children

Cross-country visitations invariably bring up the question of airline transportation. The parents may want to include some provisions in the parenting plan to govern the way they will manage the airline transportation required to get the children from one parent to the other. Here are some provisions parents may want to include:

  • Indicate the age when the child will be able to take direct flights by him- or herself to visit the noncustodial parent.
  • Indicate whether the child will fly with an airline employee or if he or she will fly with another adult - such as one of the parents. Indicate how the parents will share the responsibility of accompanying the child, if necessary.
  • State which airports the child will use to fly in and out.
  • Include the requirement that the parents notify one another when purchasing tickets. Also, require the parents to notify one another when dropping off and picking up the child at airports.
  • Determine which of the parents will be in charge of organizing travel arrangements.
  • Establish arrangements for sharing the costs associated with airline tickets.

Do you have special child custody circumstances?

Every family is different, and some require a unique approach when it comes to organizing parenting time, child custody and child visitation. If you or your family has unique requirements for child custody and parenting time, you may require a customized solution that takes into account the special needs of your situation.

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