Once your divorce is finalized, you may decide that you and the kids deserve a nice relaxing week on a warm beach somewhere. So you book an overseas package for the next school break. Having looked forward to this for weeks, you turn up at the airport only for the agents working the passport checkpoint to refuse to let you take the kids out of the country.
This happens a lot, and it even happens to parents who are still married when they try to travel alone with their kids. How can you ensure it won't happen to you?
You need the correct documentation
However much you feel like hating on an official that turns you away, they are trying to stop people from taking their kids out of the United States to separate them from their other parents forever – in effect, kidnapping them. They are also trying to clamp down on child trafficking, which happened to around 10 million children each year.
Here are some of the documents you should get ready:
- A letter of consent from the other parent: They need to sign it, and you should probably get it notarized just to be sure.
- Your child's birth certificate: This is especially important if your child does not have your surname, as it helps prove you are their parent. It also helps when you are the only legally registered parent, as it should negate the need for anyone else's permission.
Note that this is not a definitive list and some destinations may have extra requirements of their own. Discussing vacations when working out your child custody agreement can lay the groundwork for the other parent to give you the permission you'll need.