Parents who like to travel and are going through or about to go through a divorce or child custody case often wonder how international travel with their children will work. In this article we discuss the standard international travel provisions for children found in Texas custody orders. Specifically, we will discuss when a parent can travel overseas with their children and what a parent needs to do prior to traveling overseas with their children.
In a Texas custody case, there is a simple answer to when a parent can travel overseas with their children. It's when the parent has possession of their children under their custody order. For an explanation of the standard possession order in Texas, please see our answer to the FAQ "What is the Standard Possession Order?" If it's not a parent's scheduled time with their children, then that parent does not have the right to keep their children from the other parent simply because of travel plans. For the custodial parent (the parent with whom the children live), international travel under the standard possession order can be difficult. A custodial parent has more time with the children, but their consecutive days with the children are never too long. On the other hand, the non-custodial parent can have up to anywhere between two weeks and 30 days uninterrupted in the summer with the children in which to travel abroad. Most custody provisions also have language that the parents can go off the possession schedule in the custody order by agreement. So if the parents agree, either parent can get enough time to travel overseas with their children.
In terms of what a parent needs to do before traveling overseas with their children, it's all about planning and notice. Standard international travel provisions in Texas custody orders require the traveling parent to provide the other parent with notice of the overseas trip. This notice is usually required to be provided at least 21 days before the departure date and should include the following information:
- (1) any written consent form for travel outside the United States that is required by the country of destination, countries through which travel will occur, or the intended carriers;
- (2) the date, time, and location of the children's departure from the United States;
- (3) a reasonable description of means of transportation, including, if applicable, all names of carriers, flight numbers, and scheduled departure and arrival times;
- (4) a reasonable description of each destination of the intended travel, including the name, address, and phone number of each interim destination and the final travel location;
- (5) the dates the children are scheduled to arrive and depart at each such destination;
- (6) the date, time, and location of the children's return to the United States;
- (7) a complete statement of each portion of the intended travel during which the parent providing the written notice will not accompany the children; and
- (8) the name, permanent and mailing addresses, and work and home telephone numbers of each person accompanying the children on the intended travel other than the parent providing the written notice.
Within ten days of receiving this notice, the parent who isn't traveling needs to sign and return any forms provided that are necessary for the children to travel overseas and, if in their possession, provide the children's passports to the traveling parent. Under most custody orders with international travel provisions, if the non-traveling parent doesn't provide the consent forms and the passports after getting proper notice, then the non-traveling parent will be liable for the all costs associated with the canceled trip, including hotel and airfare expenses.
If you want to travel overseas with your children and need to establish or modify custody, contact Sugar Land child custody attorney Chikeersha Puvvada at 281-313-5300 or online today to schedule a consultation.