March 8, 2017

How To Travel Abroad with Your Child Over Your Spouse’s Objections During or After Your Divorce

travel abroad with your child

Don't let your ex-spouse prevent you from obtaining your child's passport. During the spring, most parents start thinking about summer vacation with their children. It is becoming more and more common for children to have passports. Some families routinely travel overseas on vacations or have other family members who live abroad. Other families may apply for passports for their children to comply with border crossing requirements to travel back and forth from Canada and Mexico. Whatever the reasons, divorced parents frequently have justification and the need to obtain passports for their children. Federal regulations are clear that both parents must cooperate and sign permission for their children to obtain passports. But what do you do in the event that your former spouse is not cooperative. If you want to travel with your child outside of the United States and your ex disagrees, can he or she refuse to sign the passport application?

Schedule a Parental Alienation Assessment

Fortunately, when such an objection occurs, federal regulations provide a pathway by which to obtain the child's passport despite your former spouse's refusal to cooperate. The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) provides a solution. Pursuant to 22 CFR 51.28(a)(3)(3m)(ii)(E), a court of competent jurisdiction may specifically authorize the applying parent or legal guardian to obtain a passport for the minor, regardless of custodial arrangements or specifically authorize the travel of a minor with the applying parent or legal guardian. Pursuant to this Federal Regulation, if your former spouse is inappropriately attempting to block your travels with your child abroad or is inappropriately preventing you from obtaining a passport for your child, you can petition the court for a court order. The court order should specifically cite the specific CFR and state the basis of the order is the non-cooperation or lack of cooperation of your former spouse. The order will authorize you to travel with your child abroad during a specific period of time without the written consent of your former spouse and/or provide you permission to obtain a passport for your child without the consent of your objecting former spouse. 

The order should also include a request of cooperation of all state and federal agencies to affect expeditiously the purpose and intent of the court's order. The judge may not have the authority to order specific actions by a state or federal agency. However, a judge may request the cooperation of such agencies. Have a certified copy of this court order when you obtain your child's passport and have another certified copy with you when you travel abroad.

Consequently, Federal Regulations do provide you a pathway in which you and your child can enjoy a family vacation outside of the United States or a family vacation outside of the United States even though your non-cooperative former spouse may unnecessarily and inappropriately object.


Board Certified Marital and Family Law Attorney Charles D. Jamieson understands that divorce is an extremely sensitive and important issue. Thanks to extensive experience and a focus on open communication, Attorney Jamieson adeptly addresses the complex issues surrounding divorce while delivering excellent personal service. To discuss your divorce, please contact The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. online or call 561-478-0312.


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