DOES A PARENT NEED PERMISSION TO TRAVEL WITH KIDS AFTER DIVORCE OR ARE THEY FREE TO TAKE THE KIDS WHEREVER THEY WANT?
Does a parent need permission to travel with kids from the other parent after divorce? Or can they just come and go as they please freely? After all, it’s their kid?
It seems to be an issue quite often that a non-custodial parent wishes to travel with the children, and often does take the children on a trip someplace, and the custodial parent throws a hissy fit. What gives? Does a parent really need to clear it with the other parent before he or she can take their own kids on a trip?
Years back, pop star Usher and his ex wife Tameka Raymond were battling in Superior Court in Atlanta over this very issue. Tameka and Usher apparently shared joint custody of the two minor boys they had together but Tameka felt that Usher should not take them on trips without getting her “permission” first. And there was some issue with the nanny as well. She allegedly felt that no nannies should have been hired without her express consent and so she basically excoriated Usher and then took him to court.
What is the law on this? I really don’t remember. But my hunch is that if he is traveling within the country, he doesn’t need her permission to take the kids on a trip. Especially since he seems to have joint custody. I also don’t think he needs her permission to hire a nanny for his own kids. (And I would advise her to be careful with her demands with respect to these kids. Some judges will just get fed up and give Usher full and sole custody and Tameka will get visitation…and there goes the child support check. Know what I mean? Tameka, if you read this, stop throwing your weight around on issues that are not clearly winnable. You copy?)………
Update: Tameka lost custody years back…
Now, if the travel is international, this could potentially be an issue. Especially if the non-custodial parent does not share joint legal custody. First of all, the child’s passport will be needed and sometimes the custodial parent refuses to give up the passport. So the parties end up in court over the passport. I think Christie Brinkley and her ex husband Peter (the achitect, can’t remember his last name) had this issue and he went to court to get the passport because he wanted to travel internationally with the child and Christie wouldn’t pony up the passport. If memory serves correctly, the court sided with Peter and Christie had to give him the passport.
So it’s not that the other parent can’t travel with the children internationally. And it’s not even that he or she needs “permission.” It’s just that sometimes the custodial parent makes an issue of something that should not be an issue and the courts would then have to step in.
There are times when the court would try to put controls over the travel plans of a parent. Especially when you are dealing with parents who are citizens of countries that are not signatories to the Hague Convention. Or even if they are signatories, the countries may not enforce the Convention. I think Japan is one of those. Many times parents who are Japanese citizens take the children to Japan after a divorce and never return. The mothers especially. And the Japanese judicial and legal system sits back and does nothing about it. Because Japanese law favor mothers for custody of minor children. Also, some of the countries in the Middle East are problematic because father’s are given de facto custody no matter what the laws of another country says about the custody of those particular children. So if they are allowed to travel to those countries, the left back parent often never sees the child(ren) again.
Judges have wised up to this and so the courts may insist that a parent need permission to travel with their kids to non-Hague convention countries. Or there may be tight controls put on the child’s passport. And the parent may even have to post a bond to travel with the child to those countries.
But in the case of celebs like Usher, or even ordinary Americans, I don’t really think that a parent does or should require “permission” from the custodial parent to travel with their own child. That’s not making intuitive sense to me. But as I said, I really don’t remember the law on this issue. So feel free to correct me if I am wrong. I mean, as a courtesy parents should discuss these matters and both should be in the know about the travels. But this idea that, for example, Usher needed Tameka’s “permission” to travel with the kids? Thereby she brings an action in Superior Court to enforce this right she thought she had to be the one to “give permission” to her ex husband with regard to his children? She clearly overreached. She didn’t have a legal leg to stand on with that.
Generally speaking, I believe that unless there is some special clause in their custodial agreement that requires him to get her permission a parent does not need to seek the custodial parent’s permission. After all, these are the noncustodial parent’s children as well. But there are extenuating circumstances. It really depends.