Traveling out of State with Children after a Divorce

The thought of your child leaving the country without you and without your knowledge is enough to fill most parents with dread. In the context of a divorce, the fact that the child is going with a former spouse can still be unsettling to some parents depending on the relationship the parents have. How an international trip is handled between divorced parents depends on the parenting plan in place regarding parenting time and time sharing with the children.

In most situations, how a parent chooses to spend his or her parenting time with his or her children does not need to be approved by the other parent. However, vacations that require extended travel, especially out of state or out of the country require the parent to notify the other parent and provide details of the vacation. The children may also need passports, specific immunizations, and waivers in order to leave the country. If the parent who primarily has the children has these documents, then the other parent will have to disclose the travel plans.

Some countries will not allow a child to enter the country with a parent without a court order proving that the parent is allowed to travel with the child without the other parent, or a letter from the other parent giving express permission for the trip. In addition, a minor cannot be given a passport without both parents being present when the application is made, or without a legal document allowing one parent to apply for the passport alone.

Notifying the other parent of plans to vacation outside the country does not necessarily mean that the other parent is required to give permission in order for the trip to proceed. This depends largely on the parenting plan and what it says about permission for children to travel internationally. If the parents cannot agree, and one parent refuses to consent to an international trip, the parent wishing to travel will have to get court permission before taking the trip.

Courts can look to various factors in determining if it is in the best interest of the child to take the trip. If there has been a history of the traveling parent keeping the child away from the other parent, or a credible fear that the parent will not return the child and plans to stay out of the country, the court is not likely to allow the trip.

If a parent takes a child out of the country on an international trip without informing the other parent it could lead to criminal charges for kidnapping. Therefore, good communication between the parents about an international trip with the children is advisable.

Contact an Experienced Child Custody and Visitation Lawyer

There are many issues to consider when going through a custody case, and it is important to ensure that your parenting plan adequately covers all the issues that are likely to come up after everything is finalized. If your current child support and parenting time order is outdated and needs to be modified to reflect changes in your life or your children’s lives, contact an experienced Naperville child custody and visitation attorneys at the Roscich & Martel Law Firm, LLC for more information on how you can get it modified.


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