International travel has never been easier or more affordable. Taking a vacation overseas is a life-enriching and educational experience for a child. But it’s a little more complicated to “pack up and go” if you are co-parenting.
Ideally, you and your co-parent will work a holiday and travel visitation schedule together to reach an agreement. As your child gets older, or if family circumstances change, you can petition the court to revise your schedule to represent your child’s best interests. If you’re planning on taking a vacation overseas with your young children, you will need to make different arrangements than if you were travelling in the United States.
If You and Your Ex Are on Good Terms…
• Obtain a Passport
You will need to obtain a passport for each child you are traveling with. Before a passport can be issued to a minor, the consent of both parents is required. Both you and your co-parent must appear in person to apply for the passport. Usually, you can do this at your local post office. There you will need to fill out Form DS-11. You must both provide proof of parentage and both sign the application form.
If for some reason your co-parent is unable to attend with you, you must bring a notarized consent form giving his or her permission for the application. If you have sole custody, you must present your court order granting legal custody in order to apply for your child’s passport.
• Carry a Permission Letter
If you are traveling alone with a minor, it’s advisable to carry a notarized permission letter written and signed by your co-parent. Customs and Border Protection agents may ask to see the letter when you reach the United States border. It you are unable to produce the letter, this could delay your travel plans. The consent form will not only allow you to travel with your child, it will also permit you to make health care decisions abroad for your child, if necessary.
If You and the Ex Don’t See Eye to Eye…
• Petition the Court
If you and your co-partner are in agreement, then everything should be pretty straightforward. If however, your co-parent is refusing to give your child permission to travel, this can clearly complicate matters. You’ll need to hire a Long Island attorney to get an order from the court. Usually the court will grant permission for you to obtain a passport if the ex is being unreasonable.
• Do NOT Travel Without Legal Agreement
If you are a divorced parent and you travel outside of the United States without your ex-spouse’s consent, he or she could open an international parental child abduction case with the U.S. Department of State. He or she may also file a report with the local police department, which will enter your child’s information into the National Crime Information Center.
Questions About Vacation Custody?
Are your custody arrangements conflicting with your vacation plans? Do you need help revising your visitation schedule or parenting plans? To avoid conflict and confusion, it’s best to hire an attorney who is experienced in these matters. That way, all issues can be easily resolved without upsetting your children. Here at the Law Offices of Paul A. Boronow, PC, we have over 20 years’ experience dealing with all sorts of child custody arrangements. Call us today at (516) 227-5353 for compassionate legal advice.