Articles Posted in Child Placement-Travel

Wisconsin Family law attorneys often see a spike in business in November and December as parents confront problems during the holidays. Shared placement, holiday travel, increased child care expenses, traditions with extended family – many issues can arise at this emotionally charged time of year. The holidays are right around the corner; make sure now, before problems arise, that your legal documents are in order and you are fully prepared for shared parenting during the holidays.

Many of the problems that arise this time of year can be anticipated and prevented. Closely read what your legal documents have to say about the holidays; parents often don’t have a clear recollection of these provisions. If your legal documents are not completely clear regarding child placement arrangements during the holidays – or if you have no legal documents – start the discussions with your parenting partner well in advance of the holidays. Expect that both parents will need to compromise. If your holiday plans include travel, provide your parenting partner with a detailed itinerary. For steps to minimize conflict and set a positive example for your children during the holidays, see New York University Child Study Center’s article, “Divorce and the Holidays: Split Decison or Family Friendly Compromise?” Psychology Today’s “Managing Divorce and Children During the Holidays” offers holiday suggestions in the broader context of the co-parenting relationship. If you are worried about whether the holidays will run smoothly, this is a good time to schedule an appointment with your family law attorney.

If holidays frequently present problems in your family and you find yourself paying an annual December visit to a Wisconsin circuit court, you and your parenting partner may want to consider using a Parenting Coordinator. A Parenting Coordinator is a neutral “on-call” decision-maker who can help parents evaluate options and work on conflict resolution, and if necessary can make decisions for the parents. You can find more information on Parenting Coordinators at Wessel, Lehker & Fumelle.

The New York Times recently reported that over the past year several airlines in Europe and Asia have stopped seating unaccompanied children next to adults following a number of incidents of alleged sexual abuse. However, some have countered that the incidents of alleged abuse are uncommon and seating these children apart from an adult leaves them susceptible to injury in the event of an onboard emergency. Although no domestic airline appears to have changed its seating policies the issues surrounding unaccompanied children travelers is important given estimates that around 20 million children fly unaccompanied every year. This is especially crucial to parents who live far from each other and share physical placement of their children.

The scenario is quite common. For example, dad resides in Wisconsin and mom in New York. Their two children are placed with dad during the school year and with mom during part of winter break and for part of the summer. Round trip air fare for two children and a parent may be cost prohibitive so the parents agree that the children will travel alone. For many parents, placing a child alone on a flight is a worrisome experience. But with proper planning and follow through parents can make it work. has published general airline rules for parents planning to place their children on a flight unaccompanied. Policies for unaccompanied children vary by airline so it is essential that a parent confirm an airline’s policy before purchasing a ticket. The parent must ascertain the specific airline’s requirements as well as what it will and will not allow. For example, some airlines may allow unaccompanied children on non-stop flights only; require earlier check-in; require a higher minimum age if the child needs to change planes; or may charge an increased fare for an unaccompanied child. Most airlines require that a child be at least five years old and no more than twelve to qualify for unaccompanied child service. Teenagers typically fly on their own. The bottom line is that the parent must verify an airline’s policy before booking the flight.

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