kid with luggage in airport

Traveling Abroad with Children After Divorce — Tips for Parents

By Michael DiFalco

Your summer plans may include a trip outside the country. Perhaps you have family that resides in Mexico, or your family has a favorite vacation destination in Europe. Wherever your out-of-country travel destination might be, planning for such a trip and getting there can be difficult and require considerable planning.

The difficulty and need to plan ahead for traveling with children is magnified if you and your child’s other parent are divorced. Failing to appreciate the unique challenges that this situation can present may lead to trouble with the court and under extreme circumstances, criminal charges.

3 Tips for Planning to Take Your Child Out of the Country

If traveling with children internationally following a divorce or separation is in your future, it is crucial that you plan ahead. In addition to the normal tasks you need to complete, like getting your child’s passport, you should also:

1. Communicate Your Plans with the Other Parent Early

First, so long as the other parent has joint custody, you should make your travel plans clear to the other parent. This includes when you intend to depart, where you will be going, and when you will return. 

If you have been given sole custody over your child, you may not need to notify the other parent unless court orders require it.

You should notify the other parent as soon as possible, ideally months ahead of your travel dates. While you can communicate your plans orally, it is better to do so in writing so there is a record of when and what you told the other parent regarding your plans.

In most cases, the other parent can object to your plans to take your child out of the country. Informing the other parent of your plans as early as possible gives you time to schedule a hearing and seek the court’s permission if the other parent objects to your travel plans. 

2. Get Written Authorization to Travel out of the Country with Your Child

You should not travel with your child to a different country without some written documentation that you have the legal right to do so. The other parent could report your child as having been abducted, leading to a host of legal troubles for you. 

Such documentation might include a court order authorizing the travel or an agreement that the other parent signs.

If you have sole custody over your child, traveling with a copy of your divorce decree or order that gives you sole custody is a good idea. This can help resolve any questions law enforcement or other authorities may have.

3. If You Share Joint Custody of Your Child, Continue to Communicate

Communication is needed not just to obtain authorization or approval to travel. Even while you are traveling abroad, stay in touch with the other parent about changes in your travel plans or other unforeseen events. 

If possible, try to permit your child to have some telephone communication with the other parent, especially if your travel plans take place during a time when the other parent would have had visitation.

When to Seek Help from Your New York Divorce Attorney

At all stages of your divorce case, Aiello & DiFalco in Garden City, NY, is ready to help you.

If you are traveling internationally with your child, consult with us about how to do so safely and with minimal hassle. We can work with the other parent to reach an agreement authorizing travel or seek a court order if no agreement is possible.

Keep us informed if you run into trouble while abroad. We will use our firm’s experience and knowledge of national and international laws to help resolve your situation quickly.

About the Author
I am a partner at Aiello & DiFalco LLP, and my priority for my clients is to guide them through an arduous court case to provide them with the opportunity to write the next chapter in their life. I tailor my approach to each client’s priorities and positions, and to the extent that matters can be predicted, I will always provide a realistic perspective of how the law could be applied to the particular facts and circumstances of a case. Since I thrive on helping people and solving problems, I bring an optimistic and positive approach to practicing in a very difficult area of law. With more than a decade of experience handling hundreds of cases, I have the ability to get results on the issues my clients view as priorities. When cases or certain issues cannot be settled, I have a solid record of success at trials, hearings, and on appeals. Feel free to contact me for a free initial consultation, I am always available to help.