Tips & Tricks- travel consent letters

An important term to include in any separation agreement where children are involved is an acknowledgement that neither parent will unreasonably refuse to provide a travel consent letter to the other party for trips with the child outside the country.

Whenever a child is travelling outside of Canada with only one parent, you need to obtain a letter signed by the other parent which authorizes the child to be travelling without them. The travel consent letter should be notarized by a lawyer, and should provide a sufficient level of detail about the trip, including departure dates, where you will be staying, and contact information for the parents or legal guardians.

A well-drafted separation agreement will ensure that both parents will cooperate in providing each other with these travel consent letters as and when the need arises. It’s never a guarantee, however, since a parent’s refusal to provide such authorization may be reasonable in the circumstances, at least from their point of view.

You’re also advised when travelling to bring copies of any custody orders or agreements with you, just in case customs officials want to review this documentation.

A court can dispense with the requirement to obtain the consent of the other parent, but it’s generally not going to be cost-effective to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees to obtain legal permission to travel with your child on a vacation abroad.