Tips for Traveling Internationally with your Children After Divorce

Traveling Internationally with your Children After Divorce

Flight tickets? Check! Suitcase? Check! How about the child’s travel consent form? Did you provide notice to the other parent? Do you have the child’s passport? 

Traveling internationally with children after a divorce requires a few extra steps and considerations. In Texas, there is language that can be included in your Final Decree of Divorce that addresses a child’s passport, notice of intent to travel with the child, and consent for the child to travel internationally with a parent. 

Who can apply for and hold the child’s passport? 

Parents can agree that either parent can have the right to apply for and maintain possession of the child’s passport. Alternatively, a parent can request to have the exclusive right to do these things for their children. 

If a parent’s consent is required for the issuance of a passport, that parent is required to give consent, in writing, unless a parent has good cause for withholding that consent. This helps prevent one parent from unreasonably barring a child to travel internationally during the requesting parent’s period of possession. 

When a parent in possession of the child’s passport receives notice from their ex-spouse of their intention to travel outside of the United States with the child, that parent is required to provide the passport within 10 days. This allows the traveling parent to prepare for the trip, maintain possession of passport during the trip, and check to see if the passport has expired. When the traveling parent returns to the United States, he or she will return the passport to the ex-spouse or maintain possession of the passport, depending on the terms in their Final Decree of Divorce. 

What information do you need to provide to your ex-spouse when traveling internationally with your child? 

Parents are required to provide notice of their intent to travel internationally with the child so their ex-spouse knows the child’s whereabouts. Written notice of the following is provided to the other parent at least 21 days before the departure date: 

1.                   any written consent form for travel outside the United States that is required by the country of destination, countries through which travel will occur, or the intended carriers; 

2.                  the date, time, and location of the children’s departure from the United States; 

3.                  a reasonable description of means of transportation, including, if applicable, all names of carriers, flight numbers, and scheduled departure and arrival times; 

4.                  a reasonable description of each destination of the intended travel, including the name, address, and phone number of each interim destination and the final travel location; 

5.                  the dates the children are scheduled to arrive and depart at each such destination; 

6.                  the date, time, and location of the children’s return to the United States; 

7.                  a complete statement of each portion of the intended travel during which the conservator providing the written notice will not accompany the children; and 

8.                 the name, permanent and mailing addresses, and work and home telephone numbers of each person accompanying the children on the intended travel other than the conservator providing the written notice. 

Our office will prepare a form entitled Notice of Intent to Travel Outside the United States with the Child. This document will include the information referenced above and can be filled out and used by either parent. 

Do I need consent to travel outside the United States with my child? 

Each parent is required to properly execute a written consent form to travel internationally and any other forms required for travel by the United States Department of State, passport authorities, foreign nations, and travel organizers. Within 10 days of receipt of the consent form, the non-traveling parent will execute and deliver the proper form(s) to the traveling parent. We will prepare your consent form for the non-traveling parent to sign and notarize. 

These safeguards are included in a Final Decree of Divorce to keep the non-traveling parent informed about the child’s whereabouts and provide the traveling parent with the proper authorizations to travel outside the United States worry free. 

When can I withhold consent for my child to travel outside the United States? 

A parent can withhold consent for their child to travel outside the United States if there is good cause, such as:           

·         There is a travel advisory for the intended travel destination (e.g. terrorism, crime, political violence, risk of kidnapping, etc.); 

·         Dangerous weather conditions (e.g. hurricanes, tsunamis, flooding, etc.); and 

·         The travel destination is not a signatory to the Hague Convention. The Hague Convention is an international agreement that was created as a way for foreign nations to collaborate and assist with child abductions and help parents overcome legal hurdles that may exist in another country. A parent would have good cause to withhold consent for their child to travel to a country that does not provide this additional safeguard against international abduction.  

While traveling outside the United States is a wonderful experience, the child’s safety and best interest is always a primary consideration. Child’s travel consent form? Check! Notice to the other parent? Check! Child’s passport? Check! Now, you are ready to enjoy your family trip.

To learn more about traveling internationally with your child after divorce, call the experienced Houston, TX family & divorce lawyers at Boudreaux | Hunter & Associates, LLC at (713) 333-4430 or complete our inquiry form. Safe travels! 

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