Whether you have joint or sole custody of your child, you have certain rights and obligations when it comes to international travel with your child.
In this blog post, we will explain some of the options you have if your former spouse wants to take your child overseas after a Texas divorce without your consent.
Joint managing conservatorship
First, Texas courts favor what is known as a “joint managing conservatorship,” which means that both parents share the rights and duties of raising their child. However, this does not mean that both parents have equal access to their child or equal decision-making power.
The primary conservator controls where the child lives, and the possessory conservator has visitation rights according to a schedule set by the court.
Child’s primary residence
In Texas, family courts restrict where the child can live. This limitation is usually to just one or two counties, and if either parent wants to move outside of these counties, they will need to ask the court for permission.
Specifically, they will need a modification of the joint managing conservatorship arrangement. This requires either the consent of the other parent or a court order based on a substantial change in circumstances and the best interest of the child.
Temporary international travel
If you are the primary conservator and you want to take your child overseas for a vacation or a temporary stay, you will need to obtain a passport for your child. This requires either the consent of the other parent or a court order.
You should also give the other parent your travel plans, provide them with contact information and an itinerary.
If you are the possessory conservator and you want to take your child overseas for a vacation or a temporary stay, you will need to obtain permission from the primary conservator or a court order.
You will also need to follow the same steps as above regarding passport and notification.
Permanent or indefinite relocation
If you are either parent and you want to take your child overseas for a permanent or indefinite relocation, you will need to obtain a modification of the joint managing conservatorship arrangement.
This is a more complicated and difficult process than a temporary travel request. You will need to show that the relocation is in the best interest of the child and that it will not interfere with the other parent’s access to their child. You will need to propose a visitation schedule that accommodates the distance and costs.