Rules on travelling and moving with your child between countries

When travelling with your child to and from abroad (and when moving if necessary), always keep in mind the following:

  1. Parental responsibility belongs equally to both parents unless the court has decided to limit or remove it; parental responsibility also includes the right to custody (regardless of what form of custody, sole, alternate, or joint, the court has decided).
  2. A change of residence is an important matter in the child's life, on which both parents must agree (if they do not agree, the court decides on the application).
  3. Even if the child is in the exclusive care of one of the parents, the parent does not have the right to change the child's residence without the other parent's consent (neither within the Czech Republic nor abroad - see here).
  4. International parental abduction is, in simple terms, the removal of a child by one parent without the other parent's consent to a state other than the state of the child's habitual, de facto residence.
  5. International parental abduction has many negative implications - it can be treated as a criminal offense, it can have a harmful effect on the child's psyche, it escalates a parental dispute, or it leads to unpleasant court proceedings for the return of the child to the state of habitual residence.
  6. It is a good idea to have written, multilingual parental consent for any trip abroad (including holidays), including the purpose and time limitations.

Habitual residence is defined as the place where the child has a long-term residence, has a residence agreed upon by both parents, has established social ties, and has medical care, education, or leisure time; the child's citizenship does not have to be a decisive criterion.

The most important legal document on this issue is the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, negotiated in The Hague in 1980 (hereafter referred to as the "Hague Abduction Convention"). A list of the States' Parties bound by this Convention can be found here.

International child abduction is the unlawful removal or detention of a child outside the state of their habitual residence without the consent of the other parent who has custody of the child or the court's consent. International abduction is the detention of a child abroad for longer than the other parent has consented to. The child's return can be secured amicably or by way of court proceedings for the child's return.