Visitation Rights for Fathers Overseas

By Mike Broemmel

Updated July 21, 2017

African father and daughter making peanut butter and jelly sandwich

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A noncustodial father possesses the right to visitation or parenting time with his child, according to Cornell University Law School. Exercising this right is contingent upon what the courts consider best for the child. Consequently, the location of a father--including residency overseas--plays a role in the manner in which visitation or parenting time is permitted.


No matter where a father resides, the standard for determining what is a proper child visitation or parenting time plan is what is in the best interests of the minor child, according to Cornell University Law School. Included within the considerations for determining visitation issues with regard to a child's best interests is the type and location of the residence of the noncustodial father.


A major concern of a court with regard to visitation or parenting time issues is whether the child leaves the actual jurisdiction of the court, according to the American Bar Association Section of Family Law. Courts are reluctant to permit children to go to another state for visitation with a father, let alone out of the country. Odds are slim that a judge will approve out-of-country visitation, unless the custodial parent agrees to the plan.

Time Frame

In order to allow a father the ability to spend quality time with his child, and to take into consideration his residency overseas, a visitation order likely permits a father extended visits at a specified location in the U.S. state where the child lives. For example, a visitation plan might allow a father to spend a couple of weeks with the child at a time when he travels to the United States.


A somewhat prevalent misconception is that a father located overseas lacks the right to establish any type of visitation or parenting plan with his child or children. In fact, while the location of the father affects the manner in which visitation is carried out, location alone does not defeat a father's basic right to visitation or parenting time.

Expert Assistance

Establishing visitation for a father living overseas is a complicated legal endeavor. If you are a noncustodial parent in this type of situation, seriously consider retaining a lawyer to establish your interests. The American Bar Association maintains resources to assist you in finding an experienced family law lawyer to aid you in establishing a protecting your visitation rights as a parent overseas. Make certain that you hire a lawyer that is licensed to practice law in the state where your child resides.