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How Are Passports Dealt with in a Divorce or Child Custody Case?

Parents often wonder if they are able to travel internationally with their children during or following a divorce. This is particularly the case when one spouse is a citizen of another country or has family members who live in another country. This issue often arises in the context of international divorces and child custody issues, or where one spouse fears that the other will take the child to a foreign country and then refuse to return him or her.

A fairly recent Georgia court decision held that a trial court handling a Georgia divorce, paternity, or child custody case does not have the power to force a parent to consent and cooperate to obtain a passport for a child. However, the decision also stated that the a court considering this issue should follow federal law, which allows the court to issue an order providing that one parent can obtain a passport for a child without the consent or cooperation of the other parent. The fine distinction between those orders that are permissible and those that are not only illustrates how confusing and complex international family law issues can be.

If international travel is a concern where parties are going through contested child custody or visitation proceedings, the judge generally will have the discretion to make decisions about the circumstances under which a child can travel to an international country. For instance, if a spouse has a well-founded fear about a child traveling outside of the country, based on past threats of the other spouse, or the nature of the foreign country at issue, then the judge very well place limitations on the child’s ability to travel outside of the country, at least temporarily. Therefore, it is important for parents to respect the rulings of the court in this regard, whether the issue involves international travel or simply the issuance of a passport for the parties’ child.

Shaw Law Firm LLC has years of experience representing clients on both sides of this issue; as a result, we have an excellent understanding of how to best argue both for and against international travel for children. Our ability to see all sides of an issue makes us particularly well-suited to handle all types of child custody and family law cases, including those with international dimensions.

Contact us or call today to learn how Shaw Law can work with you to achieve the best outcome possible for you and your children.

Scott Shaw is founder and principle of Shaw Law Firm LLC, founded in 1995 and dedicated solely to divorce, family law and child custody matters that must be addressed and decided in the state of Georgia. Shaw Law Firm serves the greater Metro Atlanta area, particularly the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Henry, Fayette, Coweta, Newton, Walton, Bartow and Douglas. Schedule a consultation today at 770-594-8309.