Can a parent take kids out of state while divorce is pending?

Can a parent who has filed for divorce and moved out with her 2 children now take her children for a week to another state for Thanksgiving, or will it be considered kidnapping? 

Great question. I will answer your question based upon the law of the jurisdiction where I practice divorce and family law (Utah). 

If the case was so recently filed that there are no temporary child custody or parent-time (visitation) orders issued by the court yet, then the answer to your question is “Yes, as long as the parent intending to travel out of state for Thanksgiving complies with the notice requirements of Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 109.” 

Utah Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 109 (Injunction in certain domestic relations cases) provides, in pertinent part: 

(a) Actions in which a domestic injunction enters. Unless the court orders otherwise, in an action for divorce, annulment, temporary separation, custody, parent time, support, or paternity, the court will enter an injunction when the initial petition is filed. Only the injunction’s applicable provisions will govern the parties to the action. 


(c) Provisions regarding a minor child. The following provisions apply when a minor child is a subject of the petition. 

(1) Neither party may engage in non-routine travel with the child without the written consent of the other party or an order of the court unless the following information has been provided to the other party: 

(A) an itinerary of travel dates and destinations; 

(B) how to contact the child or traveling party; and 

(C) the name and telephone number of an available third person who will know the child’s location. 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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