What You Need to Know About Traveling With Your Child After Separation
All parents should consider including in their Parenting Plan provisions relating to their child’s travel with a parent, extended family, friends, their school or organizations through which they participate in extra-curricular activities, It’s always best for parents to identify and address in their Parenting Plan travel issues that may create future conflict between them. Any restrictions relating to where a child may travel should be clearly identified in the Parenting Plan.
Parents who are concerned about their child being unlawfully removed from Canada or, once outside Canada, not being returned to their care, should consult with a lawyer to find out what steps should be taken to protect the child before the child leaves Canada. It can be extremely challenging to protect a child after the child has left Canada, particularly if the child has been taken to a country that has not signed the Hague Convention.
It’s wise for parents to check with each other before confirming their travel arrangements to make sure that they agree about the proposed travel dates and destination.
Most Parenting Plans include provisions that require a parent who is traveling with a child to provide the other parent with a travel itinerary at least 7 to 14 days before the travel occurs. The travel itinerary should include the following information:
departure and return dates
the countries, province(s) / state(s) / regions and cities to which the child will be traveling
the name of the accommodation(s) where the child will be staying and contact information for the accommodation(s)
flight or other appropriate travel information
a valid phone number through which the parent and / or the child may be reached during the trip
Parents who are traveling with children outside Canada generally require a travel consent letter signed by the other parent. The consent letter should be received several days before the scheduled departure. The travel consent will generally include the following information:
an acknowledgment of the departure and return dates
an acknowledgment of the countries, provinces / states / regions and and cities to which the child will be traveling
confirmation that in the event of a medical emergency, the traveling parent is authorized to consent to the child receiving emergency medical assessment and treatment
a valid phone number at which the traveling parent and / or child may be reached in the event of an emergency
Some countries require travel consents to be notarized, although many do not maintain this requirement. If the travel consent does in fact need to be notarized, the parent who is traveling most often pays any associated cost.
A parent who travels with a child should have the child’s health card and passport. If the child has health insurance coverage, the parent should also have the policy number and contact information for the insurance company. If the only health insurance coverage available to the child is through the Ontario government, the parent who is traveling should consider purchasing private medical travel insurance.