Wherever you are in the separation and divorce process, if you’re going to be sharing custody of your child with your co-parent, you’ll need to consider what kind of restrictions you want to seek (and agree to) when each of your travels individually with your child.
Typically, parents detail in their custody agreement how far they can take their child without getting the other parent’s permission. Sometimes it’s a specific number of miles or travels outside the state or country.
What information should be included?
It’s crucial not just to have verbal consent for travel. Written consent is important to avoid any confusion, conflict or accusations that you’ve taken your child beyond the distance stated in the custody agreement without your co-parent’s consent.
If you don’t have a custody order in place yet, it’s best to get written consent for any travel with your child. This can be done via a child travel consent letter. These should include information like the following:
- Where you’ll be traveling (with an itinerary if you’ll be in more than one location)
- Where you’ll be staying
- How long you’ll be gone
- Contact information for locations or people you’ll be with
- Names of anyone traveling with you
- When/how your child will be in contact with their other parent
That letter/form needs to be signed by both of you and witnessed and/or notarized. Your attorney can provide more detail based on your individual situation.
Documentation to bring on your trip
You should bring a copy of this letter with you on the trip, along with a copy of your custody order (if it’s in place), and your child’s ID (and possibly their birth certificate). Having documentation that you’re the child’s parent is especially important if you have different last names or perhaps different ethnicities/races.
Are you considering a spring break getaway or making plans for a summer trip? If you have questions or concerns regarding traveling with your child or drafting a consent-to-travel letter, it’s wise to seek legal guidance.