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Holiday Check-In: Traveling With Children After Separation

The festive season has arrived, the kids will soon take winter break, and many families will depart for trips across provincial and national borders. It’s a wise time to review a few basics on post-separation travel with the kids. Failure to stay within applicable parameters could land a parent in legal hot water – along with extra time, expense and inconvenience of being delayed or even blocked from travel by border guards.

Check The Legal Paperwork

In most cases, parents can travel within Canada without the other parent’s permission. International travel usually requires extra steps. Before making travel plans, review the parenting agreement, separation agreement or court order. These may contain stipulations regarding travel, such as requiring permission of the co-parent or providing him or her with certain details of the trip.

Bring Documentation

While packing, include copies of any existing parenting agreement, separation agreement or court order. Foreign countries may have other requirements. Always check before leaving Canada.

It’s also wise to draft a Travel Consent Letter, which proves that the co-parent agrees with the travel plans. The co-parent needs to sign the letter, ideally before a notary public who can verify the signature.

When A Parent Refuses Consent

If there’s a dispute and parents cannot come to an agreement, they need to follow the proper protocol. The separation agreement or court order may require certain dispute resolution methods, such as parenting coordination as a first step. As a last resort, the parents may need to bring the matter to court.

In most cases, so long as the legalities are properly observed, separated parents can still enjoy taking trips with their children over the holiday season.

Separating or divorcing?

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