Custody battle: When court orders stop your child from going on vacation

In Israel, divorced parents planning an overseas vacation during holidays may face a court order preventing their child from leaving the country. What can you do in these situations?

  (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

You might have everything planned for your overseas vacation, but all your efforts can hit a snag at the country's exit gates. It's during the passport control process that you'll learn about the court order against your child, and as a result, your entire family will be forced to abandon their travel plans.

Essentially, any parent can request a court order to stop their child from leaving Israel. Once issued against a minor, this order remains valid until the child reaches 18, even if the order was obtained when the child was as young as one-year-old.

Many divorce cases initiate the request for a restraining order to prevent the children from leaving the country, based on justified or unjustified fears that the other parent might abduct them and flee abroad. In most cases, family courts grant this request, and the order is then sent to the relevant authorities.

  (credit: SHUTTERSTOCK)

Sometimes, even after a divorce agreement has been reached, everyone just forgets about the order stopping the child from traveling abroad. It's only when the child seeks to leave the country for a family vacation during the holidays, which everyone agreed to, that the problem resurfaces. At that point, they find themselves stuck in Israel, unable to travel.

How can you get around a court order to take your child on vacation?

But there are measures that can be taken to prevent such situations. Whenever a court order is filed against a minor and a parent wishes to travel abroad with the child, the parent can request the court order be canceled. If an agreement cannot be reached, the court may require the parent who plans to travel to provide guarantees for their return.

The amount of guarantees needed depends on the perceived risk of the child not being returned to Israel. Factors considered include whether the destination country is a signatory to the Hague Convention, which deals with the return of abducted children; the departing parent's relationships abroad that might pose a risk of not returning (e.g., family members living abroad, a foreign spouse); and the parent's property, business, or workplace arrangements abroad that could indicate a likelihood of not returning to Israel.

In such circumstances, the advice is straightforward: If there is a genuine fear that the child might not be brought back to Israel, the party asking for the court order should demand high guarantees. This way, the child's departure from the country can be delayed for the duration of the vacation. On the other hand, if there is no real fear that the child won't return, and the trip is indeed a simple vacation overseas, it is recommended not to make things difficult and avoid demanding anything that could spoil the child's vacation.