Many international families travel abroad to see each other and may frequently cross international borders to do so. However, international travel can become a point of contention after a divorce if the couple has children together. Here’s what you need to know about traveling with your child internationally after you’ve divorced your spouse.
Attempt to Pen an Agreement With Your Ex-Spouse
If you have family that lives in another country, discuss traveling abroad with your child with your ex-spouse. Don’t be angry or feel like you have to force them to agree with you. Instead, let them know how important it is to you that your child remain connected with their international family. Let your ex-spouse know what you’re willing to do to ensure your child is protected while traveling internationally. Once you and your ex-spouse have agreed on the terms, get it in writing and add it to your court orders.
What If My Ex-Spouse Doesn’t Consent?
If your ex-spouse refuses to consent to international travel, you cannot travel with your child to another country. In very few cases are judges willing to grant the right to international travel if one parent objects, mainly because there are international laws that would allow a child to be kidnapped and remain unreturned to the custodial parent.
Many parents whose ex-spouses do not consent to international travel never make it that far. For a minor under the age of 16 to obtain a passport, both parents must sign unless the parent applying for the passport has sole legal custody of the child. If your ex-spouse refuses to consent to international travel, don’t risk taking your child out of the country anyways. Even if you inform your ex-spouse of your whereabouts and plans, and even if your ex-spouse gives verbal consent, if the court orders do not reflect that agreement, you could be charged with kidnapping.
When to Contact an Attorney
At Chang Mattern, LLP, we can help you make a case for being able to travel internationally with your child, especially if you have family that lives in another country. We can help you through mediation or if necessary, litigation. Contact us today for a consultation to discuss your unique needs and what your next step should be. Call now at (626) 792-5888.