Can I Take My Children Out Of The Country If I Share Custody?
One of the most frequently asked questions related to child custody arrangements is whether or not you can take your children out of the country if you share custody of them with someone else. Maybe you are traveling for work or maybe you want to take your children on an exciting vacation. Regardless of why, you need to find out if you can legally leave the country with them. Here are the steps to follow to find out if you can and how to go about ensuring you can legally leave the country with your children.
Look at Your Current Custody Agreement
Your current custody agreement will typically say whether you can leave the county, state or country with your children. It will also say what you need to do, if you are allowed to do so. Most often, this is to give the other parent reasonable notice that you intend on taking the children out of the country and specify where they will be at all times. If your agreement does not state whether you can leave the country with the children, or it says that this is something to be discussed when the issue arises, you will need to take further action.
Speak With the Other Parent and Get the Agreement in Writing
If you and the child's other parent are on speaking terms, the best way to handle the issue of taking the children out of the country, if it wasn't addressed in the current custody order, is to simply speak to the them. If you speak calmly to the other parent, explain why you want to take the child with you and specify when and where you are going, there is a chance they will agree to what you are asking for. If they do agree, be sure to get a signed and notarized piece of paper stating that they do agree to let you take the child or children out of the country and include dates and the country you plan to visit.
Schedule a Court Hearing
If you and your child's other parent are unable to come to an agreement as to whether the child should be leaving the country, you may have to file a motion related to child custody to get a judge to issue a ruling on the matter. Unfortunately, court hearings can be difficult for both parties involved. Consulting with or hiring a family law attorney can be beneficial. They can help you to get the outcome you want, while hopefully keeping things civil with you and your child's other parent.
If you want to take your children out of the country with you, you will first need to look at your current custody agreement. It may state that you can leave the country with your children as long as you provide notice to the other parent. If your agreement doesn't say anything about leaving the country, you may wish to approach the other parent and get them to agree that you can leave the children and specify the dates in writing. If the other parent does not want you to leave the country, you may need to schedule a court hearing and have a judge issue a ruling as to whether you can or not. Never leave the country with your children unless you are positive it is allowed, or you could be charged with parental kidnapping.