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Children traveling abroad with former spouses

For Connecticut parents, it can be unnerving to entrust a child to the care of a former spouse, especially if a split was recent or not particularly amicable. Entrusting a child to the other parent's care on a trip abroad may seem unthinkable. However, it isn't always up to the non-traveling parent to decide if a child is allowed to travel. Usually, a child under 16 is required to have both parents present for a passport application. If parents are divorced, one parent may be present if he or she has obtained a court order permitting the trip. If he or she has full custody, it's permissible to have just one parent present as well.

In many cases, the non-traveling parent trusts the other to at least return with the child at the agreed-upon time. Sometimes, though, there may be a real fear of abduction. U.S. child custody laws are very difficult to enforce in other countries, and some parents may use this fact to their advantage. For parents who really believe abduction is a possibility, a preemptive call to the State Department is wise. Consulting with an attorney - and establishing a working relationship before anything has the opportunity to go amiss - may also be a wise move.

A popular form of insurance while a child travels with an ex is a ne exeat surety bond. This involves the traveling parent posting bond in the amount of money it would take to find and bring back the child if the parent were to fail to return as promised.

In some cases, it may be wise to seek legal help and advice before a child travels abroad with a former spouse. An attorney who has experience with this and other family law matters may be able to offer advice to make the trip go smoothly for all.

Source: Forbes, "Take Precautions Before Your Children Travel Internationally With Your Ex-Husband", Jeff Landers, May 06, 2014

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