Does a Minor With Divorced Parents Need Permission From Both Parents to Exit the Country?

By Ciele Edwards

Whether you have family in another country, take a job outside the United States, or simply want to take your child on an international vacation, exiting the country with children in tow is more complicated than exiting the country on your own – especially if you are divorced from your child's other parent. In addition to proving your child's identity, you must also provide documentation demonstrating that your former spouse agreed to the trip.

Parental Consent

With few exceptions, a divorced parent cannot leave the United States with her child unless she first obtains permission from the child's other parent. This is true even if the parent making the trip is the custodial parent. According to a 2007 report by CNN, roughly 800,000 children are reported missing each year -- and about one-fourth of these abductions are committed by family members. While there is no way to prevent kidnappings altogether, requiring an individual to obtain permission from the child's other parent before traveling abroad makes kidnapping the child more difficult.

Contiguous Territory

You and your child must both have a passport before you can travel to another country by air. If you are traveling to contiguous territory, such as Mexico or Canada, you must prove your child's citizenship by providing either your child's original birth certificate or a certified copy. You must also provide a written statement, signed by your former spouse, stating that your child has permission to leave the country.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More


If you plan to travel to non-contiguous territory with your child, you and your child must both have a passport. The U.S. Department of State notes that minors under age 16 must have permission from both parents to obtain a passport. You must apply for a minor's passport in person. Your former spouse can either go with you to fill out the passport application, or provide you with a written, signed and notarized statement giving the U.S. Department of State permission to issue your child a passport.

Sole Custody

A parent with sole custody does have the legal right to make decisions about his child without seeking input from the child's other parent. This includes the right to apply for a passport for his child and leave the country. You must prove that you have sole custody by providing the U.S. Department of state with a copy of the court-ordered custody arrangement before your child can obtain a passport. If you are traveling to contiguous territory, you must bring a copy of the court's decision with you when you cross the border.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Can Divorced Mothers Take Their Children Out of the Country?



Related articles

The Tennessee Joint Custody Relocation Statute

Tennessee law does not prevent a divorced parent from moving out of state, but if you have a joint custody arrangement, the other parent may be able to prevent you from taking your child with you. If you move, you will likely need a new parenting plan with an updated visitation schedule, which you may agree to with your ex-spouse. If the parents can't agree on new custody and visitation arrangements, the court may modify the schedule for you or prevent you from relocating the child if it concludes the move is not in the child's best interest.

California Labor Law for Minors

Regardless of the type of business structure, employers in California must comply with all state laws, including child labor laws designed to protect minors. These laws attempt to balance an employer’s need for employees, a child’s desire to work, and the state’s duty to protect children from undesirable or dangerous working conditions. Generally, even sole proprietors and parents, or guardians, who employ their own children must meet all child labor requirements imposed on employers.

State of Florida Custody Laws for Vacations

For divorcing parents, summer vacations can present a particular challenge since child custody is often a hot topic in the divorce. In Florida, parents can generally take their children on vacation during the time they already have physical custody or visitation rights. But you can design your visitation, or time-sharing, schedule to directly address vacations through temporary orders before your divorce or through permanent orders incorporated into your final divorce decree and effective after your divorce.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Do You Have to Have the Signature of a Divorced Spouse to Take Your Minor Child Out of the Country?

A divorced parent may want to take a child on trips and vacations outside the United States without the other parent's ...

The Child Custody Laws Relating to Traveling to Another State With Written Consent

Adults are accustomed to traveling when and where they want. If you share custody of your child with the other parent, ...

Can You Relocate With a Child Before a Divorce in Georgia?

When you decide to end your marriage, moving to another city -- or even another state -- may seem like your best ...

How to Leave the State of Utah With a Child Due to Divorce

Whether you are planning on leaving the state of Utah before or after filing for divorce, moving may complicate your ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED