Vacation and Traveling with Kids after a New Jersey Divorce

Travelling with children can be a difficult experience, especially when opportunities to be with them are limited by custody arrangements. Custody and visitation schedules often have very detailed and outlined arrangements for when—and sometimes where—each parent may take their child away from home for a vacation.

When a divorced parent is considering vacationing with their child, the first thing they should do is look at their current custody order to see what it says regarding travel time. If nothing is explicitly stated or the timeline provided is not sufficient, the next best option is often to speak with a skilled divorce lawyer for more clarification regarding vacation and traveling with kids after a New Jersey divorce.

Difference in Domestic and International Vacations

Divorced parents should be aware that traveling domestically and internationally each pose their own difficulties and legal issues. When traveling out of the United States, children will require a passport. If a child never obtained a passport before their parents divorced, then this must be the first step taken before planning to travel abroad.

If both parents are willing and able to be present for the appointment, they can go to the passport office together to get a passport for their child. Alternatively, if one parent is unable to make this appointment, they can provide a photocopy of the front and back of their photo identification along with a notarized Statement of Consent.

How Can a Sole Custody Parent Get Their Child a Passport?

Parents with sole legal custody can get a passport for the child by providing the appropriate paperwork that proves this, such as custody orders or birth certificates. A parent with sole legal custody does not need the other parent’s approval. In the same vein, if one parent has passed away, their death certificate will be sufficient to allow the other parent to obtain a passport for their child.

If a divorced parent is concerned about their child traveling overseas without their consent, they can enroll in the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program. Once a parent is in the system, they will be notified if anyone attempts to apply for a passport for their child. This prevents one parent from committing fraud in obtaining a passport when the other parent’s consent is required.

Cases Involving Potential Consent Denial

Location is often not a relevant factor in cases involving vacation and traveling with kids after a New Jersey divorce. However, the parent interested in traveling should inform the other parent and try obtaining their consent. If they are unable to do so, they may have to file a motion in court to allow them to travel with their child.

If the child does not have a passport and one parent is refusing to consent to their receiving one without a valid reason for doing so, a court may overrule the non-consenting parent. In such a scenario, a judge could provide the parent that wants a passport for their child with temporary and limited power to obtain one.

It would then be up to the non-consenting parent to argue before a judge why they believe their former partner should not be allowed to get their child a passport—for example, fears about kidnapping or concerns for the child’s physical safety. For domestic travel, if both parents have equal amounts of vacation time, a court generally will not deny a parent the right to travel with their child.

Seeking Help from a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer

To find out exactly what kind of vacation you can plan with your child, speak to a New Jersey divorce and child custody lawyer today. Vacation and traveling with kids after a New Jersey divorce can be challenging, but it can also be very rewarding if approached in the right way.