Originally published by Evan Hochschild.
There are many issues in a divorce that are concerns for parents as soon as the paperwork is filed with a Court. Such as:
- How much time will I be able to get with my children?
- How much child support will I have to pay?
- Who gets the house?
- Is my spouse entitled to any of my retirement?
All of these are valid questions and are ones that make sense to ask. As with most things in life, there are issues that are relevant but not as noteworthy in most instances. One such issue, in this writer’s opinion at least, is the ins and outs of international travel with children after a divorce.
The Houston divorce lawyers with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan would like to walk through this issue to provide the general public with a little more detail on the subject of traveling outside of the United States post-divorce.
State and Federal Laws Concerning Travel with Children
There are a range of state and federal laws that can help to provide peace of mind for parents who are apprehensive about their spouses traveling internationally with their child.
Applying for a Passport
For example, to even apply for a passport for a child who is under the age of 16 a parent must either provide a court order that allows for international travel or an order that provides one parent sole managing conservatorship status.
Therefore, in most situations where a passport is being applied for in regard to a child under age 16, both parents will have to consent before that child can obtain their passport.
This is due to the fact that most parents are awarded joint managing conservatorship in a divorce. In the situation where one parent does not consent to the passport being issued, a court in Texas can resolve those type of disputes.
A Texas family court judge has the discretion to order that a passport be turned over the court or a designated party named by the court. In many divorce decrees the parties will either agree to one parent (typically the parent who has the ability to determine the primary residence of the children) holding on to the passports unless they are being used for travel, or a judge will make this determination for them if the issue arises in a trial.
What if the Divorce Decree Does not have Passport Provisions
What happens in a situation where the issue is not taken into consideration in a divorce and instead needs to be dealt with in a separate action before the court? If, for example, a parent wants to have the issue considered a year after the divorce but their former spouse will not cooperate with the passport application process, that parent may petition the Court for a ruling on the subject.
The judge can either grant the petition and order the reticent parent to cooperate with the application process, or a judge can deny the petition and side with the “unwilling parent”.
One reason for a judge siding with an “unwilling” parent is due to concerns with international abduction by the petitioning parent.
In order to avoid post-divorce trips to the courthouse, it is good practice for an attorney to advise their client during a divorce to ask the court to place restrictions/safeguards within its order as to details concerning:
- where travel internationally is and is not allowed
- the frequency of allowable travel (if any) and
- the type of detail level of an itinerary to be left with the non-traveling parent
As a fail-safe if a parent does not desire for the child to be able to travel abroad with their ex-spouse, that parent can contact the U.S. State Department’s Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP).
What this program does is contact the parent if anyone else applies for a passport in the child’s name. The parent then can take appropriate legal action including filing a motion for an emergency hearing before the court.
While circumstances where one parent is attempting to abduct their child from the other parent using a passport are rare (thankfully), with our society becoming increasingly globalized this is a precaution that is sensible to make especially for parents who have divorced a person who is either from another country originally and/or has extensive ties to another country.
Whether travel is a big part of your and your family’s lives or you are just a concerned and apt to plan parent, international travel provisions can be a huge part of a divorce in Texas. With our State sharing a border with Mexico and with international travel much more commonplace than ever before these are especially important issues for Texans.
Travel can broaden the horizons of children and impart lasting memories of the good times shared between parents and children. However, there are negative aspects to international travel that can rear their ugly heads. Having a family law attorney that has dealt with issues related to international travel can be a huge advantage to a parent who is going through a divorce.
The Houston divorce attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan have dealt with subjects as banal as international travel on vacations as well as contested issues regarding possible child abduction to foreign countries. Please contact our office today in order to find out more about how our office can assist you with these and any other problems associated with a Texas divorce. Consultations can be had in our office upon request and are always free of charge.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Children’s Passports and International Travel after Texas Divorce
- Can a Parent remove My Child from the state of Texas or from the County or Country where I am living?
- The Dirty Trick of Moving Out of State with the Kids
- The Dirty Trick of Filing for Divorce in Another City
- Help!! My Ex-Spouse Kidnapped my Child
- Common Law Marriage and Texas Divorce Guide
- Am I Married? – Marital Status in Texas
- Can I sue my spouse’s mistress in Texas?
- When is, Cheating Considered Adultery in a Texas Divorce?
- 6 things You Need to Know Before You File for Divorce in Texas
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it’s important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.
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