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AttorneyTom, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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If the parent cannot afford to fly children to another state

Resolved Question:

If the parent cannot afford to fly children to another state for summer visitation and the grandparents decide to pay does the parent who could not afford the flight have a right for visitation with the children?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 5 years ago.
Hello. Thank you for coming to JustAnswer. I am Thoreau and I am sending this answer to you only a few minutes after you asked your question.
I'm sorry to hear about the situation. Your question is a little bit unclear, but I think you're asking this: "If a court order requires a noncustodial parent to pay for travel expenses related to visitation and if he cannot do so but gets the grandparents to do so instead, does the fact that he is not personally paying for the travel expenses affect his right to visitation under the court order?" If this isn't what you're asking, please use reply to let me know what you want to know. The answer is no, absolutely not. As long as a parent makes arrangements to pay for travel expenses, it doesn't matter who the money actually comes from. The allocation of travel expenses merely calls for that parent to make arrangements to cover that expense. It doesn't mean that he must personally pay for that expense and he can get assistance from friends or family.
Thank you for your question. I wish the best for you and your family in the matter.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I was unclear with my question. My son has custody of his children which they live in another state from their mother. Court order is that she may have the children for the summer if she pays their travel both ways for the visit. At this point she cannot pay for their travel. I as the grandparent would like to bring my grandchildren home (same state as mother) for the summer but before I do I need to know if I have to legally let her have the children for visitation while they are with me for the summer.
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your message. I apologize for my very brief delay, as I was responding to another customer when you sent your message and I was unable to view it until now. Please be patient with me and I'll provide a response as soon as I can get one typed up. Thank you.
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 5 years ago.
Thank you again for your message. Unfortunately, a grandparent isn't entitled to exercise visitation simply because one of the parents is unable to do so. Only the parent can exercise the visitation. I understand what you're thinking: because the custodial parent isn't entitled to the time with the child, someone else should be able to exercise that time if the noncustodial parent can't. However, visitation time is viewed as time for the noncustodial parent to be with the child - it's not viewed as time for the child to be away from the custodial parent. In other words, a grandparent can't take over a noncustodial parent's visitation without the consent of the parents. That said, a grandparent could visit with a child with the consent of the parents and a grandparent could even potentially petition a court to establish his or her own court-ordered visitation schedule if the parents aren't cooperative.
I know this isn't what you had hoped to hear and I am sorry. However, please remember that my job here is to provide accurate information about the law. Providing bad news is the hardest part of doing my job but it's a big part of doing my job well. If you feel that the law is wrong or unfair, I'd strongly encourage you to contact your legislators, as they are the only ones who can change it.
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