If you are the custodial parent of minor children you likely have a divorce decree or other court order that provides the legal framework for your custodial rights to your children. Despite this, questions likely arise with regard to what you can, and cannot, legally do with your children. For example, you may find yourself wondering at some point “ Can I take the kids out of the country? ”
Whether or not you are allowed to leave the United States with your children will depend on a number of factors. Ultimately, if you are uncertain it is imperative that your consult with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney before making any plans to leave the country to ensure that you do not violate a court order that could jeopardize your custodial rights.
First and foremost, you should check your actual divorce decree or court order to see if the issue of traveling outside the United States was directly addressed in the order. If you are planning to permanently move out of the country, your court order likely requires you to have permission from the court before doing so. In fact, most divorce decrees require a custodial parent to secure permission to move more than 50-100 miles away from the non-custodial parent so a move out of the country will undoubtedly require court approval. If, on the other hand, you only intend to vacation out of abroad, your court order may, or may not, address the issue.
Whether or not your court order addresses travel abroad, you will need to apply for a passport for your minor children. Securing a passport for a minor child will require the consent of the non-custodial parent. Therefore, one way or the other your children’s other parent will need to consent to you taking your children out of the country.
Because you could run into problems with either your existing court order or your passport application it is always best to plan far in advance if you plan to travel outside of the United States with your minor children. It is also best to consult with the non-custodial parent well in advance of your planned trip to avoid problems along the way.
If you have additional questions or concerns about your right to travel outside of the states with your children, consult with the experienced Tennessee family law attorneys at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.
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