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4 Things to Keep in Mind About Traveling With Your Children After a Divorce

Posted by Ahluwalia Law Professional Corporation | Jun 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

With beautiful weather taking hold and Memorial Day weekend fresh in our memories, it feels as if summer is finally here. Soon, your school-age children will be coming home with their final report cards, ready for their summer vacation.

This year is different, however. You and your spouse have recently divorced, and the summer is broken up into certain weeks that the children will spend with you and others that they will be spending with your spouse. Depending on the custody agreement, there may also be certain limitations about where you can travel with them.

This doesn't mean that holiday planning has to be an exercise in frustration. When you keep these five points in mind about traveling with your children after divorce, this summer can be as memorable and enjoyable as the previous ones.

1.   Your former spouse may try to cause trouble.

If you have sole physical and legal custody, you can generally travel freely with the children and even obtain passports for them without the other parent's consent. However, your former spouse can still interfere by seeking to demonstrate that traveling outside the state or country would be detrimental to the best interests of the children. If you suspect that they will try to be difficult, seek advice from a California family law attorney.

2.   You will likely need written authorization for travel.

If you share custody with the other parent and want to leave California or even the U.S. with the kids to visit family living abroad, you typically need to obtain permission from the other parent and possibly the court. If you simply leave and later claim that you could not locate your former spouse in a timely manner or they were being unreasonable, expect serious consequences. If the other parent unreasonably withholds consent, a California child custody attorney can assist you in obtaining authorization from the court.

3.   Always pack certain essential documents.

Once you have received the necessary approval, make sure you pack the permission letter along with your children's passports (if you are leaving the U.S.), health insurance information, immunization records and, ideally, a copy of the Marital Settlement Agreement and Final Judgment in case U.S. or foreign customs officials have questions.

4.   You may have to post a bond.

If your former spouse opposes a planned trip abroad and you and the children have dual citizenship for the U.S. and the destination country, a California family court judge may ask you to post a Ne Exeat (no leaving) bond to guarantee that you honor your end of the divorce agreement. The bond is set at the estimated cost that your former spouse would incur in taking legal action in the destination country if you don't return. To procure it, you will have to show proof that you are traveling to the country you specified and not another one.

California child custody laws regarding out of state or out of country travel can be complicated, and failure to comply with applicable laws can jeopardize your custody rights. Therefore, it is extremely important that you consult with an experienced San Jose divorce attorney prior to travel. Attorney Madan Ahluwalia is familiar with the challenges surrounding post-divorce travel with children and will advise you on how to proceed with the arrangements. For more information, please contact Ahluwalia Law P.C. today.

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