Divorce of parents in Poland and a child’s departure abroad out of Poland

Divorce of parents in Poland and a child’s departure abroad out of Poland

A child’s departure abroad after the divorce of spouses or after the separation of partners requires the consent of both parents or the family court. It often happens that there is a conflict between parents regarding such departure, preventing the child from possessing the necessary document allowing crossing the border (passport or ID card). Conflicts arise not only regarding long-term permanent stays but also short-term ones, such as foreign vacations.

According to Polish law, until reaching the age of majority, a child remains under parental authority. This includes, in particular, the parents’ obligation and right to care for the child’s person and property and to raise the child with respect for their dignity. Within parental authority, parents retain the right to decide whether a child can travel abroad.

During marriage as well as after the divorce of spouses, parents jointly decide on significant matters concerning the child. In the absence of agreement between them, such matters are decided by the family court.

According to the position of the Polish Supreme Court, a child’s departure abroad for vacation, as a significant matter concerning the child, requires the consent of both parents exercising parental authority, and in the absence of such consent – a decision of the family court.

It is also worth knowing that for a minor’s permanent departure abroad with one of the parents to whom parental authority has been entrusted in the divorce judgment, permission from the family court is required if the other parent, to whom supervision over the child’s upbringing has been entrusted, has not submitted a statement expressing consent to the child’s departure.

To obtain such permission, an application must be submitted to the family court to resolve significant matters concerning the child in the form of departure abroad. It does not matter whether the child’s departure abroad occurs before the divorce/separation or after the divorce/separation.

Additionally, an important issue is the child’s departure abroad and the fulfillment of the obligation to attend school, as a child’s permanent departure outside Poland usually results in a change of school or preschool.

Moreover, a child’s departure also necessitates a review of contacts with the child, who resides in a different country than the mother/father.

How to write consent for a child’s departure abroad? Such a document should be prepared by a lawyer or a notary. This type of document should not be prepared independently. The following types of consent for departure abroad are distinguished:

Temporary – parent’s consent for the child’s departure abroad for a specific period;
Permanent/unlimited – for an indefinite period.
Consent for a child’s departure abroad should be drawn up in notarial form and translated into the official language of the country where the child will be staying. Ideally, it should also be translated into English. The translation must be a sworn translation.

Both parents must agree to both short-term and long-term departures abroad. In case of lack of consent, consideration may be given to notifying the police and border guards of the other parent’s intention to take the child abroad.

If a parent does not agree to the child’s departure, a case should be initiated to resolve the significant matter concerning the child in the form of departure abroad. The court, considering the child’s welfare rather than the particular interests of the parents, will resolve such a dispute.

The resolution depends on the individual situation and the arguments presented by the parents. There is no rule whether the court will consider the application or dismiss it. It is advisable to consult with a lawyer in such a matter.

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