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What Are Your Parental Rights If You Need To Move Abroad For Work And Your Ex Wants The Kids To Stay Put?

parental rights if you need to move abroad

Moving abroad for a job can be an exciting experience for both you and your children, but if your ex-spouse stops you, it can complicate matters. In this article, we’ll take a look at your parental rights when moving abroad with children, and what you can do if your ex-spouse says “no.”

Why Permission is Necessary to Travel With Your Children

While it’s frustrating to ask permission from your spouse regarding traveling internationally with your children, these laws are in place to protect said children. Some parents will remove their children from their home country to obstruct another parent’s custodial rights purposely.

When this occurs, the parent is committing international parental child abduction, regardless of the relationship between the parent and child. If your ex-spouse states that they aren’t allowing you to take your children on vacation and are within their legal rights to say no, they could report you. It doesn’t matter if you have no intention of staying overseas or harming your child.

A Parent’s Parental Right Regarding International Travel

Like many facets of the law, understanding your parental rights can be complicated, and your rights depend on your custody. Here’s some information that will help you navigate this.

General Laws Surrounding International Travel

Whether you have sole or joint custody, both parents typically have the right to know about their children’s whereabouts. In many cases, a parent who has sole custody of their children after a divorce doesn’t have to consult the other parent, but this depends on the custody agreement.

If the custody agreement states that the other parent does have a say over their child’s travel plans, then them saying “no” to international travel will hold a significant amount of weight.

The consequences can be severe for non-compliance, but that’s if you’re non-compliant.

Common Custody-Based Travel Clauses

Speaking to a lawyer, such as the professionals at Marble, will give you a better idea of what you can or can’t do. They may even be able to take your ex to court if they’re using their power in an abusive way. But that may not be necessary, depending on your custody agreement.

Here are some common ways the courts treat custody and the issue of travel:

  • Vacation Allowed With Limits: A parent can travel with their child internationally but sets limits, such as requiring permission from the other parent or time constraints.
  • No Custody Agreement: When there is no vacation clause in the custody agreement, both parents are allowed to take their children out of state but within the confines of their normal custody time. Both parents must mutually agree to extend past this time.

In both instances, the parent with the children is required to ask permission from the other to travel out of state and internationally. But what happens if the parent says no to this request?

What to do if You Want to Move Abroad With Your Children

Since US law does not cover extended or permanent stays, the only thing you can do is take your ex-spouse to court. There are two court orders you typically need to move abroad. First, permission to travel internationally, and second, the authority to live in another country.

You also need to have the authority to get passports for your children. US law states that anyone under 16 must get permission from both parents to get their own passport. Both parents have to apply in person, or one parent could apply with a signed, notarized permission form.

If you have sole custody, you typically have permission to live overseas, but you need to show the court-ordered custody agreement to get your child’s passport and to move out of state.

If you have partial custody, you’ll need:

  • A court order that states you’re fine to move abroad
  • Your children’s birth certificates
  • Photocopies of each child’s passport

Your ability to move to another country with your children also depends on the other countries’ laws. A country might still see you moving with your children without your spouse as kidnapping.

In the end, you’ll need to do a lot of research on the country you’re moving to, receive a court order that allows you to move, and acquire your children’s passports and birth certificates. This isn’t even covering the typical travel documents you’re required to move abroad with children.

In Conclusion…

While these laws were put in place for a reason, your parental rights can be obstructed if you’re dealing with an abusive spouse. Thankfully, it’s possible to get a court order to prevent this from occurring. It’s possible to move abroad with your children. You’ll just need to go through the law.