What if I Want to Travel Outside of the United States with My Child

March 6, 2019

After you and your spouse get divorced, there are a lot of rules you will have to abide by with regard to child custody and visitation (if you have minor children together). It is, of course, illegal to take your children away to another location without the other parent’s consent. But does that mean you’re completely unable to travel with your child, especially if you hope to travel internationally?

The short answer is no—so long as you follow the proper procedures, you should be able to travel with your children, even outside of the United States. Consulting with a divorce attorney in Miami, FL prior to making plans is advisable

Provide the proper notice

If you hope to travel with your child anywhere, especially if your goal is to take them outside of the United States, this is something you will need to discuss in detail with your ex. This is especially true if you do not have physical custody of your children—it will likely require you to alter a visitation and custody schedule to allow for such an extended trip.
Getting the permission to go on such a trip with your child will come a little easier if you and your ex have a cordial relationship and are capable of communicating openly with each other. You may need to go through the court as well to provide notice of the trip and to clarify that you have been given permission by the custodial parent to have your child accompany you.

Never take a child without consent

If, however, you do not have the proper consent to take a child with you, you should absolutely not do so, as you could be charged with kidnapping. Under the International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act of 1993, a criminal arrest warrant can be issued for a parent who takes a child under the age of 16 outside of the United States without the other parent’s express consent.

In some cases, parents who are untrusting of the other parent will prevent the child from getting a passport, or ask the judge to require the child’s passport to be surrendered to the court for safe keeping. The Two Parent Consent Law of 2001 requires both parents to consent to a passport being issued to a child, though there are some exceptions. That same law also provides some additional protections against removal of a child from the United States against the other parent’s wishes.

Parents can also register with the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program, managed by the State Department. When a child is registered under this program, a parent will be notified if the other parent (or anyone else) attempts to secure a passport for that child. And, if the parent who registers with the program provides documents to the court indicating the other parent lacks the authority to take the child out of the country, ensuing passport applications can be denied.

For more information, contact a divorce attorney in Miami, FL at the Law Offices of Granoff & Kessler today.

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