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  • Writer's pictureJarbath Peña Law Group PA

Why Do I Need My Ex’s Permission to Go on Vacation with My Own Kids?

Updated: Aug 11, 2021

A very frequently asked question after divorce or custody case is whether or not a parent needs the other parent’s permission to go on vacation with their child. And like most issues that arise post-divorce or post-custody, the answer is that it depends on the circumstances and the final court order. Where you want to take your child, the length of time you’ll be gone, and what your parenting agreement dictates all factor into this equation. The attorneys at the Jarbath Peña Law Group understand that these post-divorce issues can be confusing. But we want you to know that we are here to help. If you need advice or guidance on whether or not you need permission to take your child on vacation, or need help acquiring that permission, we are only a phone call away.

Basic Rule of Thumb

But if parents cannot or will not work together, the judge will make these decisions for them. Either way, the final dissolution of marriage or custody order will contain either the parenting agreement or parenting plan. And that is the first place you should look whenever a custody issue arises.

Local or Out-of-State Travel

As we said, permission requirements vary depending on where you are going, and how long you are going to be away from home. For instance, suppose your parenting agreement says that you get your child for one week, and your ex has them the next week. Then suppose that you want to go visit your grandmother in Alabama for 4 days with your child. Now, there are two provisions you will need to look at to determine whether you need to ask your ex for permission for this trip.

First, does the parenting agreement state that you must always request permission before taking your child out of state? If it does, then that is your answer. You need to ask permission. But what if your agreement is silent on the matter? Now you can look to the parenting time schedule. If, as stated above, you have the child for a full week and your trip is shorter than that, the chances are high that you do not need to ask permission from your ex to visit grandma. Sometimes, you do not need to ask permission, but you will need to notify the other parent in advance. Either way, make sure you follow the plan.

However, if you plan a two-week trip, everything changes. Now you are infringing on your ex's parenting time and you will need to get their permission before leaving the state. Here's the bottom line: this is a tricky area of law and if you want to be certain that you are not going to have any legal issues with your ex. Therefore, it is best to speak to your attorney for advice on exactly how to handle this situation.

International Travel

If you want to take your child out of the country, things can get a bit more complicated. If your child is under 16 years of age, both parents must sign for them to attain a passport. But what if your ex refuses to sign? Can they bar you from traveling internationally with your child?

Again, the first place to look is to your agreement, and what it says about international travel, and passports, and consent. However, if it the information in the parenting plan is not clear or not present, then you have to look to the Courts for help.

Fortunately, federal regulations provide a pathway for you and your child to enjoy international travel even if your ex unnecessarily objects. The US Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) provides an avenue for relief if your ex is unjustifiably attempting to block you from traveling abroad with your child. In such a case, the CFR allows you to petition a court of competent jurisdiction to authorize you to get a passport for your child without the other parent’s signature and to travel abroad. This court can issue an order that:

  • Cites the specific law from the CFR that it is basing its decision on;

  • Authorizes you to obtain a passport for your child without the co-parent’s signature;

  • Identifies the period of time you will be traveling;

  • Authorizes you to travel without the written consent of your ex; and

  • States that the basis of the court order is the lack of cooperation of the co-parent.

This order should also specifically ask all governmental agencies, both state and federal, to cooperate with the order. Now please understand that the judge cannot order these agencies to comply. But the judge can request compliance, and most agencies will honor that request. Therefore, it is very important that you carry a certified copy of this order with you at all times. Present it when requesting your child’s passport, and during your entire trip.

Let Us Help

The experienced and knowledgeable family law attorneys at The Jarbath Peña Law Group understand the hurdles you face after divorce. Our compassionate lawyers are committed to serving the people of Coral Gables and the surrounding Miami area throughout all stages of divorce and beyond. Don’t risk getting into legal trouble by leaving the state without your ex’s permission unless you know you have the legal right to do so. If you are unsure of your rights or have questions, we have the answers. Call today and we will help you navigate post-divorce legal issues. You can reach us at 305-615-1005 or through our online contact form. We look forward to serving you!

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