If you’re going through a divorce, or a recently divorced, you may be wondering about traveling with your children. If you’re traveling within the U.S. but plan to return to your present home after a vacation, that is usually not a problem. If your travels will take you out of the U.S., you need to be prepared and make sure that you are not violating any court orders.
What Do You Need to Do?
The two main things you’ll need to think about, while you’re planning a trip abroad: Whether your ex-spouse will have any objections to you taking the kids out of the country; and whether you have the proper documents for U.S. Customs and Border Protection so that the children can exit the United States with you only.
Can You and Your Spouse Agree on the Rules for Traveling With the Kids?
Even if you do not do a lot of traveling with your children, it is still a good idea to address the topic up front. It’s best to try to come to an agreement on this, and as many other issues as possible, while you are going through a divorce.
Because any agreement regarding traveling with your children will work both ways, most spouses can agree on the parameters. In most situations, it’s smart to ask the judge to include a clause in your divorce order that permits either parent to travel with the children. The judge will list the terms of the travel and provide a legal document, such as an affidavit that the parents can present to the airlines when checking in for a flight with the kids.
What Does U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) Recommend?
CPB will be on the lookout for children traveling with only one parent or those who may be traveling alone, with a school group and a chaperone, or even kids traveling with grandparents. Because of the increase in international child abductions, border agents are on alert around the world.
CPB recommends that the traveling parent or child traveling alone, always present a note, court order or affidavit signed by the other parent that gives permission for the child to travel. Unless both parents accompany the child, presenting such a document is essential.
Finally, if your children are adopted from another country, were born outside of the U.S., are naturalized U.S. citizens, or are permanent residents, you may need to carry additional documents, as well. In all cases, it is wise to also travel with a certified copy of your custody order, your children’s birth certificates and your divorce order.
Contact an Experienced Divorce and Custody Attorney
If you would like to discuss your options for traveling with your children and what documents you need to carry and present, reach out to an experienced Texas family lawyer.
Source: US Customs & Border Protection