With summer quickly approaching for families, it is time to start thinking about vacations and traveling. An issue that many divorced couples have to think about is traveling abroad when they have shared custody of their child.
When deciding whether you can travel abroad with your child, you must look at the current custody order. Many custody agreements have information regarding vacations and travel. It also might include what has to happen for traveling abroad. The custody agreement might contain specific provisions when traveling, such as:
- Providing written notice of the trip abroad within 30 days of the departure date.
- List of adults responsible for the child during the trip.
- Contact information of the location where the child will be staying.
- A complete itinerary of the trip so the other parent has a good idea of where the child will be at any given time.
- Emergency contact numbers for the adults responsible for the child.
If the custody agreement has detailed requirements similar to what is listed above, you should follow it precisely. If you fail to follow the rules described in the agreement, a petition could be filed against you alleging that you are in contempt of court.
You Should Ask for Written Consent
If the custody order does not address the issue of travel, either abroad or not, you should request consent from the other parent. You do not want to act unilaterally and go on a trip without telling the other parent. The best course of action is to request consent, preferably in writing, from the other parent and provide them with all pertinent information.
Try to be as reasonable as possible. Provide all of the above-listed information and agree to any realistic demands from the other parent. If you are reasonable, you may get the issues resolved, and you and your child may be able to go on the trip without too much hassle. If the other parent refuses, you can file a petition and ask the judge for permission.
The judge will be able to see how you attempted to reach a solution to make the other parent comfortable with their concerns, but they were being unreasonable. If the other parent’s major concerns about the trip had been resolved, it would demonstrate the objecting parent had no valid reason to deny the trip.
What Documents Should You Have When Traveling Abroad With Your Child?
If all of the issues have been resolved and the trip is set, there are certain documents that you should carry with you to potentially prevent any problems while crossing borders and going through airport checks. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection has information on what documentation should be carried by a parent traveling with their children. One critical document you should have is the child’s birth certificate.
You should have a consent document that the other parent signed and notarized. The document should contain the following information, if possible:
- Name of your child and their contact and demographic information, such as their address, phone number if applicable, date and place of birth.
- Name of the group and supervising adults, such as a school group or tour.
- Written, signed, and notarized statement of the supervising adult certifying that they have the consent of the parents or legal guardians, plus any consent form signed by the parents or guardians. For frequent travelers, the letter should not exceed one year. It is recommended to have the letter in English.
Remember that every U.S. citizen, including infants, must possess their own passport to travel internationally. You are not allowed to represent other family members. Your child must be 15 years old or younger to apply for a child’s passport. To get a ticket for your underage child, you will also need the other parent’s consent.
Bel Air Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Clients With Travel-Related Child Custody Issues
Child custody issues can arise when you are planning to travel abroad. If you are having child custody issues, speak with one of our experienced Bel Air child custody lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. Call us at 443-589-0150 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we proudly serve the communities of Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.