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Samuel II
Samuel II, Attorney at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27009
Experience:  General practice of law with emphasis in family law.
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My ex-wife has our children's passports and we are taking a

Customer Question

Hi,
My ex-wife has our children's passports and we are taking a trip from Ohio to Vermont (where I grew up). We may want to go to the zoo or amusement park in Canada while there. My ex is refusing to give me the kids passports. Since the kids are biracial, there is a higher probability of us being stopped at the border. I'm curios what my rights are?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 months ago.

Hello

This is Samuel. I will discuss this and provide you information in this regard.

This is totally going to depend on what the custody agreement/court order says in this regard. If the Mother has sole LEGAL custody then she is the final decision maker in the matter of traveling out of the country. I suggest, that you would need to return to court and request the court order her to provide the passports so you can take the children out of the country while on your vacation. You can do that by filing a modification of the custody order with the court that issued it. If time is of the essence and this is something you need done immediately, I suggest you can talk to the clerk of the court and ask if it can be placed on an emergency hearing docket. However, it is not likely the court will see this as an emergency. But you can try that route.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I'm sorry, I did not mention that we have a split (50/50) parenting plan.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I looked at the decree and there is no mention of what to do in regard to a passport
Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 months ago.

Ok. And is that a 50/50 Legal as well as Physical? Because if it is then you are entitled to have the passports. And if she will not provide them then you can go to court to have the court order her to do so. File a Contempt/Show Cause proceeding. But first put the request for the passports in writing, mail it certified with return receipt requested to be able to show that you made the request and she got it and now is in contempt of the parenting plan.

Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 months ago.

I suggest the letter can simply say that as she knows you are planning a vacation to Vermont and part of the trip will include going to Canada and you need the passports. Tell her if she does not provide the passports upon receipt of the letter, you will file a Contempt proceeding where she will need to appear in court and show cause as to why she is interfering with your parenting time and vacation.

Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 months ago.

Send it Certified with Return Receipt. Give her a day after you get the green card back from the post office showing she got the letter and then go file the Contempt explain to the clerk time is of the essence, you mailed the letter, the Mother is well aware and she is deliberately interfering with your kids vacation and your parenting plan.

Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 months ago.

I suggest that you are careful that you are following any directives in the order as to how much notice must be given for vacation times, etc. And if you are fully in compliance with that part of the court order, then you have a right to have the passports and can file a contempt if she does not comply.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hi, thankyou, Yes, it is 50/50 legal and physical. I am hoping to travel with the boys tomorrow and drop them off, half way to Vermont, with my Mom and meet up with them the following week (they get 2 weeks in VT and I'll be there 1 week). Maybe if My Ex sees that legally she can not Solely possess the passports she will ease up? I will try that approach and follow your suggestions. I have a couple hours now to address thi s if you recommend a particular course of action.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
FYI, I did follow the court order as far as vacation notice and information. We take the same vaca every year to see my family.
Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 months ago.

Well, it may be impossible to get a court ruling that quickly.

Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 months ago.

But you can still try and see what happens. The court is your recourse.

Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 months ago.

But if you can get the ball rolling and then perhaps get on an emergency docket it would work. In the meantime, she might see that you are legally able to take the passports and she may conceded

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thankyou for your assistance, you were a big help.
Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 months ago.

At any rate, I suggest you still proceed in this regard so that in the future it is clear that you can travel out of the country. And the court will make it clear at a contempt hearing even if not for this year. Though it is possible to also seek sanctions and perhaps get more time with the children as a penalty for her not providing the passports at this time.

Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 months ago.

You're welcome. Please let me know here if you have other questions or need clarification. Otherwise a Positive rating ensures I get credit for my time.

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