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Can you travel abroad with your kids when you have joint custody?

Prior to your divorce, it wasn’t unusual for you to take your child abroad on trips to see your extended family. Now, however, you have a joint custody agreement in place — and you’re no longer sure of your rights.

Traveling abroad with minor children can get complicated after a divorce when you don’t have sole custody.

What happens if you don’t seek out your co-parent’s permission before traveling?

Any instance in which a parent takes their child abroad without permission could result in a legal battle. The parent who does so could face child abduction or kidnapping charges. The complication with this is that many foreign countries don’t recognize other ones’ custody agreements. A parent may not have any standing to bring suit in an international court because of this.

Parents can protect themselves from becoming entangled in child custody issues by asking the judge to require their co-parent to take out a “Ne Exeat” surety bond. The parent going abroad must post a bond with the court that is equal to the potential legal fees their co-parent would incur if international litigation became necessary. The parent traveling abroad must also provide the court with the location and length of their stay as part of this process.

Communication is key in international travel situations

Any parent traveling abroad with their child should have a plan in place for ensuring that their son or daughter can remain in communication with their co-parent while they’re away. 

Co-parenting can be very difficult, especially with a former spouse. Child custody matters can be further complicated when international travel becomes an issue. If the prospect of international travel with your child is in the cards, then it may be wise to consider speaking with an attorney to avoid any legal liability issues