California’s family courts work to ensure that children have “frequent and continuing contact with both parents” after a divorce or separation. Often the issue of travel expenses comes up, especially when one parent has moved away from the area or out of state. In such cases, the court may assign the cost of travel for child visitation to either or both parents depending on what is in the best interest of the child. Under California law, the non-custodial parent usually pays for the child to travel to and from another state for court-ordered visitation with the non-custodial parent. If the custodial parent is the one to have made the move out of state, the court has the discretion in some cases to order the custodial move-away parent to bear the visitation travel costs. However, a court may adjust the amount of guideline child support to take into account the travel expenses that one parent incurs for visitation. In other words, the travel expenses for visitation may be worked into the child support payment. In some cases, the court may also order the establishment of what is known as a “travel trust fund” where a specified amount for visitation travel expense would be set aside. The frequency and length of times for the visits may be ordered by the court often taking into account the best interest of the child. It is possible for either party to file a petition in order to share visitation travel expenses. A custodial parent may also wish to establish a travel trust fund with the noncustodial spouse. It is ideal in these cases to work with an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney who will ensure that your rights and the best interests of the child are protected.
- If I move out of state, who pays the travel expenses for visitation?