Children and the Law

Can you leave the country if you have sole custody?


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2014-05-11 13:36:48
2014-05-11 13:36:48
  • Last year I took my daughter on vacation with me to Mexico. Her father and I were never married and he has no legal custody or visitation, but it was necessary for me to have a notarized letter of consent stating that he was okay with me taking her on vacation. We also both needed to be present for her to acquire a passport.
  • Yes you do need the other parents permission either written or in present. My sister-in-law and her single mother friend tried to take her three year old daughter on vacation to Costa Rica and were denied.
  • I think it all depends on the country, I am going to Dominican Republic to visit family and I called the consulate and they told me that as long as I have a passport I can take her since I am her mother and have basically full custody.
  • Even if it weren't out of the country you need a notarized paper stating you have permission from the other parent to travel with your son/daughter and they have to sign the paper.
  • Canada is reported to be more strict than the US about children traveling alone with one parent often asking for custody documentation or parental consent forms.

The anecdotes offered above are very helpful. The advice is the same for either a mother or father traveling alone with a child. If you are traveling alone with your child you should be aware that concerns about parental abductions have made border officials more vigilant when they find a child traveling alone with one parent. You should be prepared to produce documentation such as a letter of authorization or travel consent signed by the other parent. In some countries you may not be asked for it. In others, you will be detained until your authorization can be reviewed by officials. The child may even be questioned about the other parent. You should also note that you may have trouble re-entering the country of origin.

In the United States new requirements have been added in response to child abductions and trafficking. To get a passport your child must apply in person with:

  • one or both parents depending on the circumstances;
  • birth certificate;
  • with one parent who must submit the second parents notarized statement of consent;
  • adoption decree;
  • court order establishing sole legal custody;
  • court order specifically permitting travel with the child;
  • judicial declaration of incompetence of the non-applying parent;
  • death certificate of non-applying parent

A parent traveling abroad with their child must provide U.S immigration officials with a notarized consent from the other parent for the child to travel abroad. You should consult an attorney to have the proper documentation prepared.


Related Questions

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If I have sole\full custody, can I leave state with my child ?

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If I have temporary joint custody, can I get sole custody?

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Yes, because she has SOLE custody, so you have nothing on the kid legally.

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That would probably require the permission of the court. Sole custody does not always mean freedom to leave the state.

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