Holiday Planning: International Travel After Separation

If a holiday with your children after divorce involves a trip abroad, you may need to get written consent.

Much like summer holidays, early planning, clear communication and flexibility are also key to planning a successful holiday abroad.  In addition to familiarizing yourself with safety information and travel restrictions, it is necessary to investigate entry and exit requirements for each country you plan to visit.   In this post, Kayla Sanger, a University of Ottawa law student and Fresh Legal summer intern, shares information about travel consents.

What is a written consent?  What should it include?

While generally not a legal requirement within Canada, you may be asked by officials in other countries to show consent for minors travelling alone or with only one parent.  Consent indicates that anyone with legal authority to make decisions for your child is aware that they will be travelling outside of their home country for a specified period of time. 

A typical consent includes:

  • Information about your child
  • Information about you, including where you can be reached while you travel
  • A signature from the non-accompanying parent and anyone else with legal authority to make decisions for your child
  • A signature from a witness
  • In addition, the Government of Canada strongly recommends having consents certified by your lawyer.

Further information on travel requirements, including a customizable consent letter template can be found on the Government of Canada’s website.  

Don't forget to check your parenting agreement.

Before finalizing any plans, be sure to check your parenting agreement to see if it includes any restrictions on international travel, or requirements on information.  Some agreements will require that you provide certain information to your co-parent before the trip.  The agreement may also state on what grounds they can refuse to consent to the trip.

If you have any questions or concerns, your lawyer is a great resource.  She can help to explain travel requirements, prepare, review and certify valid consents, as well as manage any changes to your parenting schedule.