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Thoreau (T-USA)
Thoreau (T-USA), Lawyer
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Am I responsible for the full cost of travel expenses for visitation

Customer Question

Am I responsible for the full cost of travel expenses for visitation if I have full custody, have no visitation agreement and moved 400 miles away from the non-custodial parent?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Thoreau (T-USA) replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the opportunity to answer your question. I am sending this answer to you only a few minutes after you submitted your question.
Travel costs are generally address in the court's orders. If there is no visitation order, because there is no requirement to provide visitation at all without such an order, the visiting parent could be interpreted to have to pay for visitation. If a parent petitions to establish a visitation schedule, travel expenses would generally be addressed. If that issue is not addressed in such an order, the solution is to try to work out something fair and reasonable with the other parent. However, if that cannot be accomplished, the remedy is to petition the court to allocate the financial responsibility incurred during visitation.
Thoreau (T-USA), Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 9176
Experience: Attorney
Thoreau (T-USA) and 10 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for getting back to me so quickly!

I have two clarifying questions:

Since we do not have any visitation schedule now, can the non-custodial parent insist that the custodial parent pay for all expenses? (This is of course not reasonable.)

If the custodial parent refuses to pay for more than half of the expense for travel and cancels visitation until a mutually agreeable arrangement can be made, will that person be in violation of a court order?

The court order simply states: "Respondent shall have contact with the two minor children at such times and at such places as the Petitiioner and Respondent shall mutually agree upon."

Expert:  Thoreau (T-USA) replied 2 years ago.
My pleasure! That's what I'm here for!

In reality, if there's no visitation schedule, a noncustodial parent can't even really force the exercise of visitation at all. I can't review any of your court order, in whole or in part. However, I can tell you that, when a court makes a vague order regarding visitation, it's goal is that the parents can work together to agree upon the visitation and the allocation of expenses. This means that the court wants both parents to be fair and work together in good faith (which is good for everyone). Of course, if they can't either, parent can motion the court for clarification and ask the court to specify visitation periods and allocate travel expenses. That would generally involve a fair allocation. That said, if one parent relocated over a long distance, depending on the circumstances, the court may consider that and allocate a greater portion of the expense to the parent who relocated, should fairness so require.

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