Can I Travel With My Child?

Sharing hobbies and interests with your child is one of the most rewarding experiences a parent can have.  Helping a child to learn and grow is a wonderful part of parenting.  Travelling with a child can be a great way to help provide a child with cultural enrichment or to meet and bond with family members who live in distant locales.  After a divorce or custody action, parents will have a definite custody order which provides for specific times for each parent to enjoy visitation with the child.  However, the parents may also want to travel with the children after the divorce or custody case is over and may want to know whether they are permitted to do so.

First, parents should understand that despite misinformation that is commonly held to be true by non-lawyers, there is no general prohibition on a parent taking a child across state lines.  Except in rare cases where a divorce decree or custody order specifically limits a parent’s ability to do so, parents are free to take their child outside of New Jersey.  The important caveat here is that the parent must still abide by the other provisions of the custody order.  For example, the father has every right to plan a trip to Disney World in Florida for him and his child.  As long as that trip both begins and ends during the time that he is allocated by the custody order, there is no law prohibiting him from taking the child on vacation.  This is true even if he is not the primary residential parent for the child.

The issue changes a bit when the intended destination is international.  To get a passport for a child under the age of sixteen, both parents must consent.  The paperwork that must be completed and provided to the federal Department of State requires both parents’ signature.  The only exception to this is if there is a court order giving sole legal custody to only one parent or if there is a court order specifically providing that a parent can obtain a passport for a child without the written consent of the other parent.  If you want to travel internationally with your child and the other parent will not cooperate to complete the passport application, you will have to return to court to ask that the court require the other parent to cooperate or provide you with the authority to obtain the passport without his or her cooperation.

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If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities under your current custody order, contact us today.  We can review your order with you and talk about your goals and questions.

Are you interested in seeking an annulment? If so, contact Williams Law Group, LLC right away. Our family law attorneys will review your case to determine if an annulment is an option. If it is, we will guide you through the process and ensure you make the best decisions for your future. Call our office at (908) 738-8512, email us, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation

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