When you and your child’s other parent divorce, it’s common for you to want to maintain a semblance of normalcy in their lives. If you have traditionally traveled abroad with your kids to visit family or on a school break before, then you may assume that you can continue to do so once you and your ex split up. That’s not always the case though. It could leave you at risk of losing custody and put you at risk for criminal charges if you do.
Children under 16 are generally required to have a passport to travel abroad to other countries. Both of a minor child’s parents must generally show proof of their parentage and appear in person to request a passport for their child. It is possible for a mom or dad with sole custody to apply for a passport for their child without their other parent’s prior authorization though.
If a parent who shares joint custody takes their son or daughter abroad without permission, then they risk being charged with child abduction or kidnapping. You should know that many foreign courts don’t recognize Texas custody orders though. This means that you may have a hard time bringing a lawsuit in international court if your ex is successful in procuring a passport for your child and traveling abroad with them.
One of the best ways can protect themselves from getting involved in possible child custody issues is to take out a “Ne Exeat” surety bond. This is posted with the clerk of court here in San Antonio. It essentially serves as a type of assurance that a parent will agree to live up to the terms of their child custody agreement if they travel outside of the country with their child. Fees associated with this bond are aligned with how much potential legal fees would be if a parent had to fight the custody case.
Your ex will generally be required to demonstrate that they have plans to allow you to regularly communicate with your child while they are out of the country to be allowed to move forward in doing so.
Co-parenting can be difficult in itself. The introduction of international travel discussions into the mix can make things even more complex. An attorney can help you and your ex broker a deal for what is best for the kids.