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Family Lawyer in Toronto: Tips to Reduce Stress When Travelling with Children

Travel restrictions have eased, and many parents are looking to reunite with family abroad, or enjoy some sun and sand at an oceanside resort during the winter holidays. If you are separated, divorced, or even married or a legal guardian, but travelling with your child solo, you may need some advice from a trusted family lawyer in Toronto to ensure your trip goes smoothly.

News articles warn of the challenges of travelling with children – especially when children are travelling with a legal guardian or divorced parent. Travel delays, missed flights, and even getting stopped at the border because of insufficient documentation are just a few of the perils faced when travelling.

While taking extra steps may seem like a hassle, ultimately, they’re in place to protect children. You want your trip to create lasting memories – but not because you were stuck in an airport. Prep work on your part can go a long way to ease potential travel woes.

Do Your Research: Don’t Rely on Airlines or Single Source for Information

While a travel booking site, travel agent, or airline may be able to advise you of common travel requirements, it can be risky to rely on one third-party source – or even previous experience – for guidance. Rules change, can be enforced intermittently, and can at times seem arbitrary. Equipping yourself with information is the best way to avoid headaches or delays when entering your destination or returning to Canada.

Contact the Destination’s Diplomatic Mission or Embassy

Before travelling anywhere, it’s a good idea to check with the destination country’s diplomatic mission or embassy in Canada for documentation required when travelling with children. They should be able to advise you on what documentation may be required to enter their country with your child. In addition, you should look for any travel warnings or vaccine/medical requirements.

Ensure Travel is Covered in Your Separation Agreement

If you are separated or divorced, ensure travel stipulations are covered in your separation agreement. That can include who can apply for the passport, and how decisions are made jointly regarding travel with your children.

If you are in the process of separating, or are not sure what your Separation Agreement covers for travel, contact your family lawyer in Toronto for advice.

Ensure Everyone Has a Valid Passport

All Canadian children (including newborns) require a passport to travel outside Canada. A parent with legal custody – or decision-making responsibility – can apply for the passport, but both parents must sign the application form.

If both parents share decision-making responsibility, either can apply for the passport, but both must still sign the application.

What are the Requirements for a Consent Letter?

There is no legal requirement to carry a consent letter in Canada, but you may be asked for it by immigration officials in other countries and when crossing into Canada. Airlines may ask for the documentation as well, so it’s best to be prepared.

There is no exact template for a consent letter, but typically letters include:

  • Full name and contact information of the non-travelling parent
  • Full name of the child, and confirming documentation details like passport number, birth certificate number
  • Who the are allowed to travel with (alone or with a sole parent or guardian)
  • Travel date(s), flight details, where you will be staying, and how to contact you during your time away.
  • Signature of consenting parent, ideally also signed by a witness.

It is also a good idea to have the consent letter witnessed by a notary public, as it is less likely the letter will be questioned if notarized. Your family lawyer in Toronto can draft a letter, review your letter and provide advice, coordinate communication between parents (if necessary), and notarize your document.

Bring Supporting Documentation

To be truly prepared, ensure you have supporting documents ready as well. Supporting documents are any records that support your right for legal guardianship, and can include:

  • Court orders regarding custody
  • A copy of your separation agreement and/or divorce order
  • Copy of the child’s birth certificate

Resources for Separated/Divorced Parents Travelling with Children

Here are some handy resources from the Government of Canada to get you started:

Need a Family Lawyer in Toronto? Contact Kelly D. Jordan Family Law Firm

If you are looking for the best family lawyer in Toronto, contact the Kelly D. Jordan Family Law Firm to see if they’re right for you.. Kelly Jordan is a certified family law specialist with a wealth of experience in all areas of family law. Associates Emma Katz, Melissa Richa, and Kate Deveau come with a variety of expertise including family law mediation, litigation, and negotiation for couples who are separating or divorcing. When you need support and legal advice you can trust, contact the Kelly D. Jordan Family Law Firm for a consultation.

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