The ability to travel internationally is a great privilege and can be a lot of fun for the holidays.
What could put a damper on things, however, is if you are not prepared and aren’t familiar with how to anticipate and reduce problems with international travel in your divorce settlement agreements.
International Travel and Your Settlement Agreement
If you or your ex plan to travel out of the country for the holidays with your children, you need to be aware of what needs to be added into your settlement agreement. Do you want to give your ex the ability to take them out of the country? Do you want to make sure that you are able to take them out of the country? These are important ideas to consider when finalizing these agreements.
If You Choose to Travel
There are a lot of details and logistics that go into travel, particularly on an international scale. Here are some things to consider specifying in your settlement agreement to ensure you children’s safety.
Travel Documents: Who holds on to your children’s passports? Once you get home, do you or your ex keep the passports? Many times, parents elect to split the passports in the hopes that their ex will not take an unannounced trip without all children. If your child does not already have a passport and you want to get them one, you need to make sure that both you and your ex sign the application. If your ex won’t sign off, you may need to go to court. If you have never applied for a passport, the process is outlined here.
Travel Notice & Logistics: What is your child’s travel itinerary (flights numbers, times of departure/arrival, lodging information, etc.)? Is there an emergency contact in place and has that information been given to the appropriate people? You should be privy to any and all details of your child’s travel plans. Specifying what details are mandatory and how much notice needs to be given before travel ensures that you will are well informed and have enough time to dispute travel plans if necessary.
Restricting Travel Destinations:If you fear a possible risk of kidnapping due to child custody issues, it is best to limit your child’s travel to countries that have not adopted the Hague Abduction Convention. The Hague Abduction Convention was founded in an effort to prevent international child abductions and kidnappings (aka, child custody issues) by a parent. Any country that has adopted this convention agrees to provide prompt return of children who have been abducted from their home country. If your ex has ties to any country that has not adopted this convention, it is best to limit or bar travel to those countries in the settlement agreement including requiring a bond be posted.
If your ex breaks the settlement agreement on international travel, you need to contact the police and document the issue with them AND take the issue to court immediately. This could become a civil or criminal issue, which could mean an emergency hearing at court. You do not want to delay seeking the court’s help due to the limited time you may have to enforce the agreement.
Let Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor Help You
With four offices in Georgia, located in Atlanta, Marietta, Alpharetta and Dunwoody, our divorce attorneys serve families throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area. If you feel that your ex has broken your settlement agreement, particularly in regards to international travel, Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor would love to help you. Please call (678) 971-3413 or complete our contact form.