One of the difficult things about divorce for parents is that it’s not always easy to take your child on vacation. You and your co-parent both must adhere to the terms of your custody agreement. That likely means getting the other’s permission before going out of state and certainly before leaving the country.
Whether you’d like to take your child abroad this summer as a high school graduation gift, to visit family or just to see the sights, you need to make sure you’re adhering to your custody agreement or seek approval from the court.
What if your child already has a passport?
Even if your child already has a passport, if you share custody, you likely cannot take your minor child out of the country without your co-parent’s written consent. If you do, you could find yourself charged with “international parental kidnapping.”
What if they don’t have a passport?
If your child needs a passport to enter the country you plan to visit, both you and your co-parent must appear with your child and prove your parental relationship for the application process if you share custody.
Could a “Ne Exeat” bond help?
If your co-parent is nervous about you taking your child out of the country, they may require you to get a Ne Exeat surety bond. You would need to provide information about your itinerary, how your child will keep in touch with their other parent and assurance that you’ll uphold the custody terms.
The bond requires a fee commensurate with the cost of legal action to get the child back if you didn’t return as scheduled with them. Unless one parent has reason to believe the other won’t return with their child – for example, if they have family abroad and have threatened to move their child there – this bond likely wouldn’t be necessary.
If you’re still working out your custody agreement, it may be a good idea to add provisions about international travel to the agreement. That’s true even if your only anticipated international travel is a beach vacation to Mexico. Whatever your questions or concerns about international travel with your child, it’s wise to have legal guidance.