As air travel makes the world smaller, an increasing number of children with divorced parents fly unaccompanied between their parents' homes. Relocation by one parent may create a need to renegotiate any existing visitation agreement. Your attorney can help you work out a plan for shuttling your minor children between you, but there are several important points you must always keep in mind.
It is crucial that you and the other parent decide in advance of travel who is responsible for choosing and booking the itinerary and flight details. Every airline has a different policy regarding unaccompanied minors. Try to schedule non-stop flights or arrange for a friend to be on call should your child miss a connection and get stranded. Make sure your child has a charged cellphone, emergency contact numbers, and money or a temporary credit card to deal with delays or cancelations.
KNOW YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS
If you need to locate your child en route, the airline may say they are not allowed to divulge the whereabouts of a passenger. In order to avoid wasting precious time arguing, be armed with the policy of the airline and the name of a supervisor. Post 9-11 travel is characterized by frequent changes in security alert status at airports nationwide. If you want to accompany your child through security and to the gate you can request a gate pass. In times of high security alert, this request may be denied.
REMEMBER YOU HAVE NO CHOICE
Children can be temperamental - especially tired, travel-weary children. They may have separation issues or fears that make it difficult for parents to put them into the care of an airline employee. If you have a court order to send the child to the other parent, bear in mind that visitation is mandated, not suggested. After a few trips children get accustomed to the routine, and so do parents.
Flying between parents is not ideal, but it can work. The right divorce attorney can help you create a visitation plan that is manageable and maintains the best interest of the child.