Going through a divorce is never easy, and it’s even more emotional when you have a child. Even after the divorce process is over, you still have to interact with your ex-spouse. You will likely have to work together to make major decisions for your child. 

But what if your ex-spouse wants to take your child out of the country? Can they do this without your permission? We discuss this topic in-depth below.

Check Your Child Custody Order

When you finalized your divorce, the judge issued a custody order. The custody order lays out each parent’s rights and responsibilities relating to your child. It may have given you primary custody, meaning your child stays with you most of the time. Or, it may have given your ex-spouse primary custody.

A child custody order may also include details about traveling with your child, including international travel. Generally, if your ex-spouse has your child over the weekend and wants to take them on a trip a few hours away, they are permitted to do so. The custody order will probably require your ex-spouse to let you know they’re traveling, tell you where they’re going, and when they’ll be back. So long as your time with your child isn’t interrupted by your ex-spouse’s travel plans, they’re most likely free to take your child on a short trip.

International travel is different. Because there’s a higher risk of abduction, courts generally disallow one parent from taking their child out of the country. 

It’s possible that this scenario was addressed during your divorce. For example, if your ex-spouse has family in another country, they may have asked the judge to allow for international travel on a reasonable basis. If so, the terms around traveling out of the country with your child would have been noted in your custody order. 

If there are no details about international travel, then it’s unlikely that your ex-spouse can travel with your child out of the country absent a court order or your express permission. If your spouse knows that you’re unlikely to grant them permission to travel out of the country with your child, they’ll need to petition the court.

Check Your Child’s Passport

Many parents want their children to travel, so they get them a passport at a young age. If your child had a passport when you were married, your ex-spouse may have the passport and could use it to travel with your child. If they did so without your permission or the permission of a court, it could spell trouble for them. 

If your child doesn’t have a passport, you must be notified if your ex-spouse attempts to get them one. For any child under age 16, both parents must sign the passport application. You can even sign up with the US Department of State Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program. This program will send you an alert if someone requests a passport in your minor child’s name. 

Contact a Lawrenceville Family Law Attorney Today

If your ex-spouse is trying to take your child out of the country, you may need to take legal action to enforce the terms of your custody order. Alternatively, if you would like to take your child on an international trip, you may need to petition the court for permission. 

In either case, you will need an experienced family lawyer to help you protect your child’s rights. To help you navigate these legal challenges, contact Crystal Wright Law. 

To learn more and get the help you deserve, call our divorce & family law firm at (404) 594-2143 or reach out to Crystal Wright Law online by visiting our contact us page.
You can also visit our law firm at 368 W Pike St STE 201, Lawrenceville, GA 30046.