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Divorce and international travel with children

When parents in Maryland get a divorce and one or both of them has ties to another country, they may want to put some rules in place about traveling with the child internationally. In other circumstances, one parent may want to take the child on an overseas trip while the other parent wants to be involved in the decision-making around that.

Even if parents do not share physical custody, if they share legal custody, both parents have the right to input on the child's international travel. The best way to address this is with as much information and documentation as possible. This essentially requires a two-pronged approach. One element is making sure that parents are transparent and in agreement with each other about the trip. The other element is making sure all the required documentation is in place to travel. For the traveling parent, this could include paperwork indicating permission to travel internationally with the child.

The parameters for overseas travel might be outlined in the parenting plan. For example, the parents might agree that the child will accompany the other parent for visits to family on certain holidays or for vacation. Whatever the plan is, parents should be thorough in agreeing on dates, whom the child will travel with, contact information and any other relevant information.

International abduction may be a concern for some parents. There are preventative measures that can be taken, such as a court order that does not allow the child to be taken out of the country. However, a more common challenge in negotiating child custody that has an international component is the distance involved. If a parent is from another country and decides to or has to move back to that country, it may be necessary to return to court and get a modification in the custody agreement.

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