Taking Your Children Out of the Country After a Divorce


It’s almost the end of the school year, and you have big vacation plans for your children.  After all, they deserve some relaxation to make up for the fact that mom and dad made the decision to divorce.   Your journey does include some international travel.  Should you be concerned about taking your children out of the country after a divorce?

Actually, it could be simple.  Perhaps your ex is thrilled at the opportunity for your offspring to see the world.  However, not every divorced couple is so inclined.  Unfortunately, there could even be concerns that the plan is to relocate to another jurisdiction and never return.

Any type of travel arrangements can provide potential interferences with parenting time and vacation schedules.  If you cannot amicably work out an agreement with your child’s other parent, you should absolutely consider seeking advice from an experienced family law attorney.

International Travel with Children

With certainty, you have heard a particular phrase before.  For the most part, the court makes decisions based on the best interests of the child.  On the one hand, if you are planning to take your child out of the country, you must show the benefits for the child.

However, there is also the flip size.   If it is your intention to forbid the other parent from including your child from international travel, you must show good reason.  Once again, it’s not about making you happy.  The court will make a determination based on the best interests of the child.

First, you should be aware that the State Department has certain guidelines when it comes to one parent traveling alone with minor children.  At the onset, both parents must sign the children’s passport application.  In the alternative, a parent can sign a form permitting issuance of a passport for someone under the age of eighteen.  At the time of travel, the mother or father taking the child out of the country should come equipped with a consent letter from the other parent.

Obviously, the refusal to comply these actions will thwart any attempts to travel outside of the country.   Your best recourse is to review the circumstances with legal counsel.

For some, international travel conjures up fears of child abduction.  For this reason, the government has stringent requirements regarding children traveling outside the United States.

When International Travel Plans are in Dispute

In best case scenarios, there will be a seamless approach to a parent’s intention to treat a child to an overseas trip.  However, that’s not always the case.  It may be necessary to motion the court for permission to take a child on vacation out of the country.

In reviewing the application, the court will first want to determine what s will be visited.  For certain, it will be important to determine if the trip is planned to a nation that is a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. 

What’s the reason for this?  These countries have agreed to honor each other’s custody orders and return children to their native lands as appropriate.

That’s not to say that the courts will prohibit international travel to non-Hague countries.  It is up to your attorney to make a case that represents your child’s best interests.

Contact Us

Are you planning on taking your child out of the country and have concerns?  The Law Offices of Sam Stoia can discuss the legal requirements with you and determine if you need help.  Contact us if you require assistance.