Travel, especially international travel, is one of the more highly contested parts of a divorce. In an international city like Houston, many of the people in our community have family living in other parts of the world and part of their life is traveling back and forth in order to visit and spend time together. Maybe you are one of these people who spend a lot of time in airplanes with your family, traveling to the country where you or your spouse grew up in order to see your extended families. There are not a lot of issues with this while you are married. However, once a divorce is started the situation begins to get a little more complex.
If you are contemplating a divorce, you can breathe a little easier knowing that in most cases the spouses are able to come together and agree on the terms of their divorce including international travel provisions. Mediation is a setting in which an independent, third party attorney is paid by both parties to help them arrive at a mutually agreed to settlement.
The terms of that mediated settlement agreement will then be written in their final decree of divorce. This avoids having to go to court and can dramatically reduce the levels of stress and anxiety associated with having a judge decide important issues.
Unfortunately, your divorce may not be one in which a straightforward settlement on the subject of international travel for your children may be reached. If you have concerns about the safety of the country where your spouse intends to travel with your child or whether or not your spouse will return home to the United States at all then this blog post is for you to learn more about this subject.
Passport issues and divorce
It is not uncommon for issues surrounding passports to arise during a divorce. The majority of the time in a divorce both parents are named joint managing conservators and in order for a child to get a passport permission to do so must be first granted by both parents. The tricky part then is what can happen if you would provide consent for your child to get a passport but your ex spouse objects.
At this point a judge would get involved in the process and can order that a passport applied for and received over the objection of your ex spouse be turned over to the court for safekeeping until a resolution on the subject can be obtained. If after a hearing the judge determines either you or your spouse are better equipped to keep possession of the passport, then an order may be made to that effect.
Concerns with your ex spouse leaving the country for good
Past clients of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC have shared their concerns with me regarding their ex spouse being able to obtain a passport for your child and then leave the country with no intent to return. In a situation like this it likely that a judge would not order you to sign any documents pertaining to the passport. If your spouse has a limited history of being in the United States and/or has dual citizenship with another country then the judge may believe that the risk is too great to order you to sign a document that applies for your child’s passport.
Your judge may also choose to restrict international travel as to where, when and how long each trip may last. Judges have the ability to make decisions and issue orders that are in the best interests of your child. By the same token, if the judge feels that it is in the best interest of the child to travel according to the desires of you or your spouse, then the judge can issue an order that requires you to sign an application for a passport, turn over a passport to the court or to have you or your ex spouse keep possession of the passport.
A past client’s story regarding international travel
A prior client of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC had many of the aforementioned issues hit home when, during her divorce, her husband made it known to her that he was going to travel home to a country in the middle east with their three year old daughter. The backstory here is that her husband had attempted to travel internationally with their daughter in the prior year as well with the intent not to return for an extended period of time.
What complicates the issue further is that in this particular middle eastern country women do not have the right to travel by themselves and cannot do as much as a result to protect their children if an international abduction situation were to occur.
The end result was that one of our attorneys had to file a request for an emergency hearing with the court that needed to be set on the day prior to the husband and child’s intended departure date. Our office was able to work with this client to learn all the facts of the situation so that a clear and concise message could be communicated to the judge about the risk to the child’s safety.
Ultimately the child’s passport was held by the judge until after the divorce had concluded. In the Final Decree of Divorce, strict language was inserted that allowed our client to keep a great deal of control over the type of international travel that the husband and child could participate in.
International Travel concerns in your divorce? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If anything you’ve read in this blog post hits close to home then please consider contacting the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. Our licensed family law attorneys have worked with clients who have concerns just like yours regarding their children and international travel. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week and would be honored to listen to you and help answer your questions.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Children's Passports and International Travel after Texas Divorce
- Child Custody Geographic Restrictions in Texas
- Geographic Restrictions in Child Visitation Orders in Texas
- The Dirty Trick of Moving Out of State with the Kids
- Can a Parent remove My Child from the state of Texas or from the County or Country where I am living?
- Children's Passports and International Travel after Texas Divorce
- Child Custody Basics for Texas Parents Revisited
- Child Custody Basics in Texas
- Joint Managing Conservators in a Child Custody Case in Texas?
- Can I get sole custody of my kid in Texas?
- Sole Managing Conservator in a Child Custody Case in Texas?
- Texas Child Custody Modifications
Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding Divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Child Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our Divorce lawyers in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.