The Role of Your Custody Judgment and International Travel With Your Minor Child

By: Heidi A. Kuffel

July 1, 2015

There are many factors to consider when dealing with a custody judgment. Your custodial role and the language of your custody judgment determine your rights to travel with your child outside of the United States. And a passport is necessary for traveling to any foreign country, Canada included.

If you have a child 16 years of age or younger, you will need to obtain a passport for your child, in which case you will be required to appear in person with the other parent and your child in order to provide the necessary consent to issue passport. In the event that the other parent cannot be present, you will need to provide the other parent’s signed and notarized consent in the required form.

However, if you have sole custody of your child, the other parent’s signed consent is not necessary, but rather the Custody Judgment granting you sole legal custody. For the application to be approved without the other parent’s consent, and through usage of a sole custody judgment, the judgment must not contain any further travel restrictions. In the case that you have a custody judgment authorizing application or re-application for your child’s passport without the other parent but you do not have sole custody, the court order will be honored.

Keep in mind that sole custody judgments can have prohibitions on travel, which may restrict you from obtaining the minor child’s passport without cooperation from the other parent. Also too, a custody judgment may be drafted to forego the requirements relating to the other parent’s presence or notarized consent.

It is best not to forget important travel provisions relating to international travel. To ensure a smooth application process, you should understand the requirements of the other parent’s presence, or the cooperation from the other parent, regarding signing and having notarized a formal consent. Furthermore, if you believe travel plan cooperation may be difficult in the future, you should plan ahead, understand the requirements, and perhaps include language in your custody judgment relating to passport application and cooperation.

If you have further questions about custody judgments, you can contact the family law attorneys at Lavelle Law, Ltd. at (847) 705-7555 for a complimentary one-hour consultation.