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Out of State Scout Trips and DIVORCE COURT?

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At our Monday evening meeting, an interesting topic came up. The question was raised about how to handle out of state scouting trips with respect to scouts with divorced parents. The concerned raised was whether the scout would be allowed to leave the state due to stipulations in the divorce settlement. The statement was made that the courts institute clauses restricting out of state travel of minors in the settlements. I'm ignorant. I've been happily married (well sort of, LOL) for 27 years as of T-day with no plans for a divorce. Plus my kids are all grown now anyway.


Is this the case in all divorce settlements, or only when there is a chance of a parent fleeing with a child.? Is this only valid on travel with a parent, or all inclusive? If this is a scouting trip, with neither parent participating, is there a way around the stipulation? How does your troop handle this situation?


I would just hate to see a scout miss out on a trip to DC, Philmont, NOAC, etc, because of a stipulation, especially when there is no threat, or because of a vindictive spouse.


Beavah, how about some of your legal expertise?

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I would think that it is parents responsibility to make that determination. If a paren gives permission for a scout to attend the activity and that action is in violation of a court order then it is the parent who in in legal jeopardy not the scout unit. The court order was issued to the parent not the the Troop.


I would not worry about it. Always have a signed permission slip for every scout for every outing just as the program recommends and you ill be fine.


If the parent tells you that the scout cannot leave the state I woould remind them that you would not take any scout out of state without written permission from the parent, so he or she simple needs to not approve the scout's participation should that situation arise and you will honor the decision as you would with any other scout.


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BW has the nail squarely on the head w/ this one.


If parent-A signs permission slip for scout, and parent-B objects (whether in state or out of state), the issue is between parent-A and parent-B.


If the unit can be held to account for parent-A breaking any limitations on travel in the settlement, then I guess units better start asking for PROOF of guardianship / legal custody from ALL adults that sign permission slips for any outing.


How do you know the adult even signed it? Maybe the scout is forging mom or dad's signature? Do we check on that? What if Grandma signs it, do we ask for a copy of power-of-attorney or papers of legal guardianship? I doubt it.


If the unit has a signed permission slip in hand. Any beef is between the divorced parties.

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I would consult your Council's legal team about that. Jurisdictional violations can get messy and it would suck t see the scout stuck in the middle of something like that.

I would agree with Bob and Dean that it's on the parents, but it's best to be sure.

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Been there. I'm a divorced Dad.


Whichever parent is the one bringing Billy to Scouts, have a quiet cup of coffee with him/her. Politely tell Mom or Dad it's their responsibility to comply with their parenting plan. Notifications, permission, or dispute resolution ... that's their problem, not yours, and certainly not Billy's.


You do, IMO, have a support courtesy to Mom or Dad, though: Accurate gathering times, accurate contact information, accurate return times. It might even get to the level of detail of accurate routes. She got that clause into our parenting plan for EagleSon. Of course, if your unit is doing local and National Tour Permits as a true planning process, and not as a pro forma check-a-block, this information is available to you :)


Think of it this way: If you can help Billy make the trip by furnishing Mom/Dad feeder information, you're helping him have chances to live the Oath and Law.

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I helped run a municipal ski club for about 30 years. Every Friday night, we'd take about 100 kids about 50 miles to a local ski hill. One policy we developed that we would not break in any way shape or form was that parents could not pick their kids up at the ski hill without a written request turned in before we left the city. It was for the express reason of protecting against a non-custodial parent from possibly taking a kid while in our supervision.


We had one memorable argument where a father was picking up his kid to continue up north for a weekend trip. While we had no reason to distrust him, we told him that he could only pick her up back at the recreation center. It was 100 miles out of his way, but too bad.

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I agree with those who say to stay out of this. It also sounds like a hypothetical question; i.e. people sitting around asking "what if" this situation exists. My suggestion is, don't worry about it, and don't go looking for issues that aren't your problem. As others have said, if you have a permission slip signed by a parent, it is not your responsibility to inquire further. You do not need to know about the internal family politics of the boys in your troop. Even if you know there is a divorce situation, as far as you are concerned the parent who is with the boy at any given time is the parent who has the right to be with the boy at that time and to give permission for the boy to participate in activities.


Where the issue might actually come up is if you are actually told by one parent that the other does not have the right to do something they are doing, or have done. You should still try to stay out of it. But if I were an SM and someone showed me a court order that said little Billy is not to leave the state without the permission of both parents, and one of the parents was telling me that little Billy does not have permission to go on an out of state trip, I would be concerned. I am not sure exactly what I would do, but I don't think I would just ignore it. However, it does not sound like this has happened.


Of course, this is all subject to what I said in the thread that Eamonn started about legal advice in an Internet forum: None of the above is legal advice, I am not your lawyer, etc.

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In this day and age of divorce for a dime, one can expect a whole lot of legal issues that did not apply in the past.


These issues need to be checked out by legal professionals in your particular area. Divorce laws vary from state to state.


Custodial parent is the legal guardian, the other parent is not.


Leaving the state may be an issue of the courts not the parents, i.e. even the parents cannot leave the state with the child unless both parents agree and sign.


Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Find out the particulars in your area AND the court orders for each particular divorce, before one gets burned.




Oops, forgot to add - step-parent is not a legal guardian unless they have officially adopted the child.


(This message has been edited by jblake47)

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It was just a discussion. We have not run into this problem yet. Luckily, we only have one set of divorced parents in the troop, the SM and his ex, and this topic is not an issue. So let's rephrase the question a little.

troop ### is having a trip to DC. Johnie's parents settlement has a "No out of state travel" clause because one parent does not trust the other (or is being vindictive) or the court tossed it in on their own. Johnie really wants to go on the trip and neither parent will attend.

- Can the Guardian parent (or do both parents need to sign), or LPOA give permission for travel??

- Does the court need to approve and give permission for travel?



I like that policy. I think that informing the group leaders in advance that someone will be picking the child up, is only polite. But the leaders have time to ask questions if need be. If the parent can't follow simple directions, parent pays.


Would it be proper at a new parent orientation to offer up the statement that "this troop does travel out of state a few times a year. If there are any concerns over this and or you do not want your child participating in these events, please come and discuss your needs with us so we can better accommodate your son."




If it is noticed that the parents are divorced when the application is turned in, ask if there is any issues with out of state travel that need to be addressed, or other issues?


We had an ASM who went through a nasty divorce about 4 years ago. Threw a pillow at her one night and ended up with a DV charge against him (she was a deputy). Next thing we knew, he was not allowed to attend meetings and campouts because she filed a restraining order against him. The boys only ride was from grandpa or the boyfriend (another deputy). We ended up loosing a good ASM and two good scouts.


I would never want to get myself or a troop involved in the petty squabbles of divorce court, but I think a troop needs to be made aware of certain information. If there is a restraining order, and someone is not to be around the scout, we need to be aware of that.


If there is a "No travel clause", I would hate to be pulled over by an out of state trooper because one parent let the scout take the trip and the other decided to trigger an AMBER ALERT.

"Licence and registration please. Is Johnie So and So in this car. Sir please step out of the car. We have an AMBER ALERT out on this child, and we'll need to talk with you back at the station." OR "You need to turn around and take Johnie (and everyone else) back home."


I hope it never happens, but I'm sure it will if it already hasn't.

Not everyone is KIND and COURTEUOS. We would just like to BE PREPARED if and when we cross this bridge.

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Yah, I'm with da rest of the folks, eh? This is an issue yeh leave to the parent(s) unless you're confronted with it directly. You've got enough things to worry about. And if yeh are ever confronted with it, seek local help and advice. Local family attorneys will know how your local courts tend to handle such things.


Now, one thing I think it's important for every troop to get when a boy signs up (and after any life-changing event like a divorce or remarriage) is information on custody, visitation, and release, eh? It certainly is possible for a lad to be caught between warring parents, and for a lad's scouting to get sucked into that black hole.


Doesn't need to be fancy, eh? Who has legal custody (mom, dad, joint?), and are there any special instructions the custodial parent has in terms of release of care after a meeting/outing (never release to dad, only release to dad on visitation weekends, etc.). Yah, and whether a non-custodial parent should be included in troop communications or not. Inform all your scouters about the terms for anything out of the ordinary "open" thing that most units have.


This helps yeh avoid da situation raisinemright was in, eh? That's not a particularly good place to be, caught between fear of releasing a lad to a potential non-custodial parent kidnapper and committing kidnapping or custodial interference yourself.




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After a 22 year hiatus from Scouting, I politely informed SWMBO that she would become a Scout Widow. And when I die, that it isn't mold growing on my dead body, it just that I died while wearing the uniform (1 hour, oops, make that 40 hours a week. LOL.)

The few OOS trips we have taken, SWMBO has been invited, and participated.

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I like what the furry long-toothed critter said.


ASM 915: You said: I would just hate to see a scout miss out on a trip to DC, Philmont, NOAC, etc, because of a stipulation, especially when there is no threat, or because of a vindictive spouse.


You cannot let your emotions enter into the issues of Billy, Mommy X, and Daddy Y. You have to be dispassionate, and tell Mommy and Daddy: "This is an opportunity for Billy. You two make the decision. It's your divorce, and your parenting plan."


I know we talk here, a lot, about empowering the youth. This is one time you don't empower Billy. That sticks him in the middle. My state has a mandatory parenting class during the litigation period. One absolute rule: Adults talk to adults about the child. Do not stick the child in the middle, do not use the child as a communications method.


Do not get involved in a civil war.(This message has been edited by John-in-KC)

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