If I’m divorced, can my ex-wife take our 14 year-old child on a trip out-of-the countrywithout my permission?

UPDATED: Nov 3, 2010

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If I’m divorced, can my ex-wife take our 14 year-old child on a trip out-of-the countrywithout my permission?

My ex-wife filed for divorce in 2008; it was done in 2009. She got sole custody of our 14 year-old son. He is in the band at the high school he goes to. The school band is planning a trip to Toronto, Canada next year in spring of 2011. My ex is going to put down a deposit on the trip but I do not want my son leaving the US to go into Canada. Do I have any legal rights to stop this from happening?

Asked on November 3, 2010 under Family Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

There is no single answer: what your wife can do depends ENTIRELY on the terms of the custody agreement, as do your rights to modify, change, veto, etc. her plans. Generally, if someone has sole custody, it's as if he or she is a single parent and can take the child pretty much wherever he or she likes, subject only to the caveat that she can't interfere with whatever visitation rights the other parent has. (So a short trip, ok; relocating where the other spouse can't visit is not ok.) However, again, a custody agreement or a court-order regarding custody and visitation can deviate from the norm; you need to reference any agreements or orders in your case. To the extent that your rights are infringed on or violated, you may have grounds to stop the trip.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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