The Winding Road to Traveling with Children

It’s almost summer time and many parents want to travel with their children outside the state or even outside the country. However, parents going through a divorce or who are already divorced are not as free to travel with their children as others. There are many hurdles to be aware of so that a smooth travel schedule can be assured.

In California, divorcing parents are subject to restraining orders preventing them from traveling with the children outside the state of California without written consent or a court order. Therefore, if you desire to travel with your children outside of California, it is critical that you obtain written consent from the other parent as far in advance as possible so that if such consent cannot be obtained, you will have time to obtain a court order.

If you desire to travel outside the United States, the rules of obtaining a U.S. Passport can complicate travels further. The parent wanting to travel needs to obtain a passport. However, a passport will not be issued to a parent who owes child support payments in excess of $5,000.

Assuming the parent that desires to travel has obtained a passport, it will be necessary to obtain a passport for the children. In order to obtain a passport for a child under the age of 14, one of the following must occur: (1) both parents and the child must appear at the appropriate passport office to apply for the passport; or (2) the child must appear with the traveling parent at the appropriate passport office and submit, in addition to other required documentation, a Statement of Consent authorizing passport issuance for the child; or (3) the child and traveling parent must appear and document his/her sole authority to obtain the passport. Children over the age of 14 may execute their own passport application but court orders may still limit such travel.

While there are hurdles to traveling with children, such travels do not have to be treacherous if planned well in advance.

Marlo Van Oorschot, Esq. is a Family Law Attorney and Mediator in West Los Angeles. Ms. Van Oorschot can be contacted at (310) 820-3414; or For further information on litigation and mediation of a family law matter, please visit