Summer is upon us, and many people have already made plans to travel somewhere amazing. While your last trip probably included your former spouse and your children, if you are going through a divorce, then things have changed drastically. Are the rules for traveling with children the same after a divorce? Often, the divorce decree and custody and visitation paperwork does not specifically answer this question, making it difficult to plan trips in advance. Finding out how your Georgia divorce affects traveling with your children is necessary to avoid disputes with your former spouse and violating a court order.

Traveling Within Georgia

Post-divorce, your ability to travel within the state with your children depends on who has legal custody.  If you have sole legal custody, you do not need the other parent’s consent to travel within Georgia or outside of the state. You should check to make sure your divorce judgment or custody order does not contain a travel restriction, though. Just in case, you should travel with the original divorce judgment or custody order packed with you, and be prepared to present it if requested by the appropriate authorities.

Leaving the State

If you have joint legal custody of the children or you are the non-custodial parent, then you will need the other parent’s written consent to travel out of state with your children. Consent should be in writing, preferably in your divorce judgment or custody agreement, and signed by both parties in the presence of a notary. Many divorce judgments and custody agreements include provisions for travel that outline the traveling party’s notice requirements and procedure for exercising travel that is outside of the state of Georgia.

Moreover, the divorce judgments and custody agreements contain provisions on how to handle disagreements and conflict about traveling with the kids, particularly if one of the parents is foreign-born or wishes to travel to a conflict nation. If your divorce judgment or custody agreement does not contain a provision for travel, you can modify your existing agreement to include travel provisions. In the event your former spouse does not provide consent when you request to take your children with you on vacation, you may seek judicial intervention to resolve the dispute.

Traveling Internationally

Foreign travel requires all children, including infants, to have a passport. In order to obtain a passport, you will need the other parent to appear in person with you when you apply for the passport, or written consent and signature of the non-traveling parent, regardless of legal custody, on the passport application. Foreign travel may be restricted in sole legal custody divorce judgments or custody orders. Thus, a sole legal custody judgment or order may not be enough, so be sure to read your custody paperwork carefully. For information on how to apply for a child’s passport, visit the U.S. Department of State’s website.  

Additionally, you may need to present proof that a child accompanied by only one parent during his or her travels has the other parent’s acknowledgment and consent to travel. For information regarding travel requirements for children, visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website.  

Get the Help You Need

At Vayman & Teitelbaum, Attorneys at Law, we feel that children should be able to experience traveling with their parents. The goal of our Georgia family law attorneys in Alpharetta, Lawrenceville, Cumming, and Marietta, Georgia, is to ensure that you understand both the legal and practical implications of your decisions. If you are considering out of state or foreign travel and the other parent does not consent to your travel plans, please contact us today.