Child Court Orders - Summertime Blues or Summertime Cruise?

Child Court Orders - Summertime Blues or Summertime Cruise?

We’ve all heard the Alan Jackson song “Summertime Blues”: “Sometimes I wonder what I'm a gonna do, but there ain't no cure for the summertime blues”. Passports and international travel can be a problematic area for parents who are not together (ex-parents). Some ex-parents with child orders can be difficult for the sake of being difficult, but his can be avoided. To avoid passport and international travel issues, all child orders should address applying for, renewing, replacing and holding, a child’s passport. There are provisions for these passport rights in the Texas Family Code.

A child order should also address internatianal travel, and when a parent has the right to withhold consent for such travel, or not. If international travel seems to be a future issue, is advisable to incorporate into the child order the U.S. Department of State travel advisories (found at The travel advisories incorporate all countries all the way down to cities. The ex-parents could incorporate provisions for travel using these travel guidelines. The guidelines are as follows and can be assessed for a country and even a city:

  1. Blue: Exercise Normal Caution
  2. Yellow: Exercise Increased Caution
  3. Orange: Reconsider Travel
  4. Red: Do not Travel

Unless there are strong reasons why a child should not travel out of the country, for example medical reasons, dangerous travel conditions, etc. the courts will more than likely issue orders for the child to travel out of the country. And, if there are no orders regarding international travel, then the child will more than likely travel out of the country.

If orders for child passports and international travel are not in a child order, it may be very difficult to obtain such an order since the parents could foresee that they may need these provisions in the future. Courts cannot just change orders; they have to have a material and subtantial change in circumstances to do so. Passports and international travel are things that can be foreseen, and may not be seen as a material and substantial changes in circumstances. However, in older orders where passport rights were not addressed, and no laws regarding passports exist, a court might make such passport orders.

Ex-parents should be wary of child orders for passports and international travel. If ex-parents do not have such orders, and they forsee travel, it is advised to obtain advice about their rights. Acting early enhances the chances of the Summertime Cruise rather than the Summertime Blues!

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